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New Sears store planned in county
Sunday, November 24, 2013
By SAM JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Roughly a year after Sears closed its location in the Liberty Fair Mall, the brand is set to return to the area with the opening of a Sears Hometown Store early next year in Collinsville.
Andrew C. Palmer, who owns Palmer’s Golf Car Sales on Figsboro Road, said Friday he plans to open a franchise store at 2424 Virginia Ave., Suite 3, in the Dutch Inn Plaza. The store should be up and running by mid-January, he said.
Palmer, of Martinsville, said he had been in negotiations with Sears since late August to acquire the franchise.
Hometown Stores sell a variety of merchandise found in most Sears stores, mostly home appliances, electronics, lawn and garden equipment and tools. It will carry “everything except clothes and shoes,” and those and other merchandise can be ordered and delivered to the store, Palmer said.
The store, which Palmer said will be managed by his wife Brittney, will have about four employees at first, though most Hometown Stores usually have as many as eight, he said.
“With myself and my wife being directly involved in the beginning, we’re looking to keep expenses down” at first, he added.
“I do plan to be very involved, but I do plan on staying in golf car business,” Palmer said. “But I do plan on definitely being involved in the day-to-day operations of the store.” Palmer said he became interested in the business venture after visiting a Hometown Store in Pennington Gap, which compelled him to send an application to start the franchise here.
He said he knew of at least one prospective owner who expressed interest in opening the franchise store, but said he but doesn’t know why that didn’t happen. “I more or less applied and they contacted me, and it’s been a building process ever since then,” he said.
Palmer said Sears has a “great support team” which helped him get the franchise going.
“I just think (with) the market in Martinsville,” a hometown store should do well here, Palmer said. He added that local ownership plus customer service should make a big difference.
Because an individual runs the store instead of the Sears corporation, “you kind of get the hometown” treatment, Palmer said.
Sears supplies a store’s inventory on consignment. There are no licensing or franchise fees, ongoing fees or royalties, its website shows.
Ed Sosniak, regional new store development manager for Sears, confirmed Friday that Palmer “will be the owner of the store.”
Sosniak said it will take about a five-week “build-up schedule” to prepare the Collinsville site to be open by mid-January.
The location was ideal for a Hometown Store and presented an “opportunity to come back into the market” and re-establish keep Sears’ products there, he said.
Sosniak said the location choice was crucial, and a lot of due diligence was done to “get him the best deal” on the location.
“I think the site is excellent. I has great road exposure,” he said. “That whole part of Collinsville has just got a good retail atmosphere.”