BILLINGS — An indoor batting cage is moving into Rimrock Mall, filling a space left vacant by the departure of retailer Dressbarn earlier this year.
Owners Brandon and Elly Wood announced on Facebook that they are opening a new D-Bat franchise at the mall in the winter of 2020, available for both baseball and softball players.
Elly, a Billings native, moved her family back to the area from Arizona two years ago. Her husband, Brandon, is a former Major League Baseball player with the Anaheim Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates and will be an instructor and run camps and clinics for youths.
The D-Bat franchise was founded in 1998 by Cade and Kyle Griffis in Texas and began opening new franchises a decade later. Now, D-Bat has 75 locations nationwide, with 20 more in the works, according to the business's Facebook page.
The batting cages and training facility will occupy 12,138 square feet in the mall, taking the spot of Dressbarn, which closed in May, and Mastercuts, said Daron Olson, the mall's marketing manager. The space is between JCPenny and Rue 21.
The space is currently home to Halloween City, which is leasing seasonally at the mall.
The arrival of D-Bat is part of a growing trend for the mall, which is weathering a retail landscape transformed by rising online sales. Traditional retail storefronts have shuttered by the thousands nationwide, and malls and shopping centers have been forced to seek a broader mix of tenants to survive.
These new developments include businesses like D-Bat Freefall Brewery, a brew pub and eatery scheduled to open in the mall this fall.