Sears is looking to bring its name and some of its products back to Seymour through its Hometown and Outlet store business.
Company officials said they are looking to partner with an existing, independent home retailer in the city to sell Sears home merchandise, including appliances, tools and lawn and garden equipment.
Mike Jones, region development manager, said Sears has not selected a Seymour site yet but is interested in talking to the operators of any independent furniture, hardware or building supply store about the opportunity.
“We’ve determined that Seymour is on our target list because it’s an area that has the most potential for us to grow,” he said.
The partnership allows an existing business to expand and take care of customers without having to worry about investing in more inventory, he added.
“We provide the inventory, and they don’t have any of their personal money invested in it,” Jones said.
The concept is called “store within a store,” he said.
“This program gives us the opportunity to expand into smaller, suburban or rural markets where we wouldn’t typically open a full-line Sears Hometown Store and will help us create relationships with more communities nationwide,” Jones said.
Retailers need to have 2,000 to 5,000 square feet available in their locations to display and maintain a stock of products, which include such brands as Kenmore, Maytag, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Bosch, Frigidaire and GE.
“They may have a building that is too big for them,” he said. “This partnership allows independent retailers the opportunity to turn extra space into profit. They can keep their original store but also add the Sears Hometown Store brand name to their portfolio and benefit from the support and product assortment that we offer.”
By becoming a Sears Hometown and Outlet retailer, a business would have access to the company’s full range of product lines both in store and through the Sears website at no additional cost.
Customers also would receive benefits such as Sears Shop Your Way Rewards and would be able to use Sears Credit and purchase protection agreements from the store.
Jones said that, with the recent closing of the Sears store in Columbus, there is a viable need for an appliance and lawn and garden equipment store in the area. Seymour hasn’t had a Sears store of any type in several years.
“Based on our projections, it will be a good fit to have a presence there,” he said.
Ideally, Jones said, he would like to open as soon as possible, but the company must first identify a possible business with which to partner.
“We don’t typically do more than one in a community,” he said.
The store-within-a-store concept is not new, but Jones said Sears has used it for just a little more than a year now.
“We have eight that have opened and three in development,” he said. “We are also in talks with several businesses about the opportunity.”