Steamboat Sears store unaffected by financial woes of Sears Holding Co.
Steamboat Springs — While the national news about the future of Sears Holding Corp. is grim, the owners of the Hometown Sears store in Steamboat Springs emphasize their store, located in Central Park Plaza, is locally owned and operates under a different corporate parent than Sears Holding Corp., which is reportedly teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
“We’re not Sears; we’re a Sears Hometown store,” Jim Hansen said March 31. He and co-owner Kevin Sankey purchased the business in 2010 and subsequently moved it to Central Park Plaza on the other side of the parking lot from City Market and Central Park Liquor.
Morgaen Thomas manages the store for Hansen and Sankey.
By way of illustrating the difference between the two Sears, Sears Hometown store owners were less than thrilled in January, when Sears Holding sold the Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker (though Sears Hometown continues to sell Craftsman, only now, among other brands).
On March 22, the Associated Press reported that Sears Holding Corp. had revealed in a corporate filing that “there is substantial doubt” about its ability to keep its doors open, raising concerns it might file for bankruptcy.
The company, which had previously acquired another struggling company, Kmart, has lost $10.4 billion since 2011, the last year it reported a profit, according to the AP. Sears Holding Company owns the large Sears department stores in shopping malls, nationally, where people shop for clothing, as well as power tools.
The financial picture for Sears Hometown Stores and Outlets, the parent company of the Steamboat Sears store, isn’t nearly as pessimistic as that of Sears Holding Company, though it posted a $104 million loss at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, Jan. 28.
CEO Will Powell said the organization is making strategic moves to strengthen his company’s long term outlook, and while some Hometown Sears stores were closing around the nation, some were re-opening in preferred locations. There were also new store openings.
Sankey offered assurances to his customers that, regardless of the fate of Sears Holding Corp. (the other Sears), his store has received corporate assurances it will still be able to sell the dependable line of Kenmore household appliances, for example.
“Our store is best known for home appliances, tools and home and garden,” Sankey said. “Our appliance business is more like a showroom.”
Typically, shoppers in Northwest Colorado will select an appliance, such as a refrigerator or a washing machine, from floor samples, then take delivery within a few days.
Hansen explained that the store sees truck deliveries twice per week from Denver, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the store contracts with a third-party business to deliver and install the appliances. However, with a significant number of landlords in Steamboat relying on the store to make emergency replacements (a hot water heater is a good example) it will sell an appliance off the showroom floor in a pinch.
The Sears store in Steamboat also sells mattresses, many of them under the Serta brand. In that case, the factory in Denver doesn’t make the mattress until it’s order by a customer.
As the seasons start to change in the beginning of April, the Sears store in Steamboat has an interesting mix of snowblowers and lawn tractors on the showroom floor.
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