Outlet by Ashley HomeStore became the newest member of East Peoria’s business community Thursday, and celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

According to store owner Mike Bruegge, the new furniture store is the fifth Outlet by Ashley HomeStore in the United States that is connected to a main Ashley HomeStore. The outlets are a new concept introduced by Ashley Corporate Industries. Shoppers at the outlets can buy new furniture at discounted prices.

“(The outlets are) made to complement the home stores,” said Bruegge. “It’s for people who want to take (the furniture) and take it now.”

Off-price retail stores like the new Outlet by Ashley HomeStore have become increasingly popular throughout the United States, according to Gene Lunger, executive vice president for Ashley Corporate Retail. The new outlet was established as a way of addressing the company’s need to be a part of that concept. He thanked the store’s management and staff for visual execution that he described as being as close to perfect as he has seen in the home store community.

“(It’s a) beautiful store,” he said. “Fantastic owners and exceptional leadership led us to where we are today. This company continues to weave itself into the fabric of the Illinois community. Just speaking for myself and the balance of the Ashley executive team, we could not be more proud of what you’ve accomplished.”

East Peoria Mayor John Kahl was on hand for the ceremony and thanked the store’s management and staff on behalf of the city.

“We appreciated the fact you made an investment here two years ago,” said Kahl. “Now, you’re expanding your (presence). We wish you much success.”

Bruegge, assisted by his grandson, Max Hook, 3, cut the ribbon to officially open the outlet. Light refreshments were served following the ceremony.

The Outlet by Ashley Homestore is located at 105B N. Main St., East Peoria.