Sears Hometown Stores seek Toledo locationsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Sears is seeking potential investors for opening Sears Hometown Stores in northwest Ohio, advertising for locations in Toledo, Fremont, Ottawa, Port Clinton, Upper Sandusky and Wauseon.
Sears advertised for a Toledo location through its Authorized Retail Hometown Store Program with other listings for Canton, Cincinnati, Lebanon and Rochester, Ohio.
“Sears is looking specifically for a location for a Hometown Store along Alexis Road in north Toledo. We’re still interviewing candidates to own and operate a store there,” said Charles Todd, regional market development manager for Sears.
Todd said they are looking in that area to replace a Sears Appliance and Hardware store formerly located at Lewis and Alexis that was closed earlier this year. He said they are also looking for owners and store locations in Milan and Tecumseh, Mich.
“We recently opened a Sears store inside the Ashley Furniture Store in Bad Axe (Mich.) that is the first one located inside another store,” Todd said.
Sears already has Hometown Stores operating in Bowling Green, Bryan, Bucyrus, Tiffin and Van Wert.
Tim Wilkins opened the Sears Hometown Store on North Main Street in Bowling Green in 2001. Wilkins said they are holding their own in the today’s economy and their holiday business this year is about the same as last year.
“The Sears store has been accepted well by the local community,” Wilkins said.
The Sears Hometown Store concept was introduced 16 years ago and is designed for small to medium-sized markets. It has an overall goal of 3,000 independently owned and operated stores in 500 communities across the country. There are currently 900 Hometown Stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, according to the company.
Sears Hometown Stores carry all of the top home appliance brands, consumer electronics, tools and lawn and garden equipment.
The Hometown Store Program gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to invest in owning and operating a Sears store in desired locations listed by the retailer.
An initial investment for a Hometown Store may run from $55,000 to $100,000, depending on the size of the store and any leasehold improvements required. Owners must have $100,000 available without borrowing and a minimum net worth of $120,000, according to the company.
Sears claims its program is unique because it doesn’t include any initial franchise or licensing fees. The company may invest in the business with qualified owners.
The store owner is expected to devote his or her full-time personal efforts to the daily operation of the store. The owner may hire a manager but is ultimately responsible for all employee and staffing decisions.
The ideal candidate should be outgoing, results-oriented, committed to success and willing to focus their energies exclusively on the retail business. They would benefit from previous retail management or sales experience with a basic knowledge of business financial principals, according to the company.
A team from Sears will guide the owner through the market analysis, site location, financing options, lease negotiations, and construction or retrofit work. The retailer also provides help preparing the store for opening with instruction on fixtures and merchandising.
Sears training staff will instruct each owner in the daily operations and management of the store. Initial training would include three days in one of its certified training stores followed by a week of intense training at the company’s headquarters in Hoffman States, Ill.
Sears offers owners extensive advertising and marketing support, store inventory at no cost, merchandising and promotional expertise with exterior and interior signage.
Store owners earn a variable commission rated based on the merchandise they sell. Each store receives deliveries of Sears and other brand name products by truck every week.
The program differs from many franchise operations where owners have full responsibility for all capital outlay related to the business. Sears store owners are not charged any inventory fees, transportation costs or royalties by the company.
Profitability varies depending upon numerous factors including sales, location, number of households in the market, operating expenses, lease or real estate costs, and the ability of the dealer to manage the business.
Sears currently operates two department stores located at Westgate Shopping Center in Toledo and at Woodville Mall in Northwood.
Sears, Roebuck and Company has been a leading retailer of general merchandise for more than 100 years in the U.S.
For more information about store franchises, go to www.searshometownstores.com.