San Antonio

Earlier this month, a dozen or so gun rights activists walked into San Antonio-area outlets of Sonic and Chili's with long rifles strapped across their backs. In both instances, managers of the burger joint and Tex-Mex chain acted quickly, requesting that these members of Second Amendment advocacy group Open Carry Texas leave their premises. After Mother Jones found and posted videos of these two incidents, Sonic and Chili's reacted, although both stopped short of joining Starbucks, Chipotle and Jack In The Box in asking customers to leave guns at home.

As it looks to grow its number of physical stores, Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Soft Surroundings has formed a strategic partnership with a private equity firm, which now has a majority interest in the largely catalog and internet-based retailer. Los Angeles-based Brentwood Associates has taken between a 50 percent and 60 percent interest in the company in a deal valued between $150 million and $200 million that closed last week, said Tom Wilcher, the chief executive of Soft Surroundings.

Kent, Wash.-based Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) will open its first-ever Kansas store in Overland Park. The 23,500-sq.-ft. store is slated to open in fall 2013. It will feature a bike shop and a seasonal gear rental department. Additional stores are slated to open this fall in San Antonio; Cincinnati; Woodbridge, Va.; and Medford, Ore. Currently, REI operates 123 retail stores in 30 states. SAVE | EMAIL | PRINT | MOST POPULAR | RSS DDI's RetailDesignDiva blog is dedicated to retail design issues, opinions and frustrations of the day.Read the Diva's recent rantings. DDI's Retail Design Newswire Sign up

Philadelphia -- Visionworks, the largest wholly owned U.S.-based optical retailer, has opened its first store in the Philadelphia area. Located in Deptford Township, N.J., it is the first of more than 25 stores expected to open in the market through 2013. The San Antonio-based retailer plans to open 17 stores before the end of 2012 and additional locations by April 2013. "Philadelphia is an ideal market to expand our business, and we are looking forward to serving Philadelphia-area residents," said Visionworks president Jim Eisen. Visionworks (formerly Eye Care Centers of America, Inc.) operates more than 550 optical retail stores

San Antonio Business Journal by , Reporter/Project Coordinator Walmart will hire more than 1,000 employees in the city once the retailer's planned store expansion is completed. Reporter/Project Coordinator- San Antonio Business Journal With its latest project now a done deal, Walmart is releasing some new figures regarding four new Supercenter stores in San Antonio. The stores, which will open between 2013 and 2014, will bring 1,200 new jobs to San Antonio, according to officials with the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain. Of the four new stores in the works by Walmart, three are set to open in 2013 — the fourth,

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