Sears seeks Hometown Store operator
CHAMPAIGN — Sears, which plans to close its store at Market Place Mall in January, is looking for an entrepreneur to own and operate a Sears Hometown Store in Champaign.
Sears Hometown Stores are typically between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet and offer appliances, tools, mattresses, fitness equipment and lawn-and-garden equipment, a release from the company said.
The stores carry Sears brands such as Kenmore appliances, DieHard batteries and Craftsman tools and lawn-and-garden products.
The new store in Champaign would be one of 28 in Illinois, said Mike Jones, regional development manager for Sears Hometown Stores.
Area locations include Pontiac, Effingham and Lincoln, as well as one in Crawfordsville, Ind.
"The local owner is responsible for start-up and ongoing operating expenses associated with the store," Jones said.
Those expenses include building or leasing a facility, providing in-store fixtures, hiring and training employees, payroll and insurance.
Jones said the stores are supported by the Sears retail network, which provides all inventory, advertising, point-of-sale computer systems, delivery, support and training.
The Hometown Store program isn't considered a franchise program, Jones said, because Sears does not require the owner to buy inventory or pay an annual licensing fee.
The program has been around since the early 1990s. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operate 1,239 stores in all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Bermuda.
Through in-store kiosks, Sears Hometown Stores offer shoppers the full selection available on sears.com. Local repair service is offered, as well as product protection agreements.