Sears store owners planning to stick around
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | October 19, 2017
Earlier this summer, Sears stores in Haliburton and Minden were told they wouldn’t be on the chopping block.
But that all changed last week when Sears Canada announced it was seeking court approval to liquidate its remaining stores and assets. A judge approved the move days later.
Although the news made headlines Oct. 10 and the company posted a media release the same day, Rawn Moore, owner of the catalogue store in Minden, had not yet been officially notified.
“Oh my gosh. Really?” said Moore in a phone interview that afternoon. “Of course I’ve heard all kinds of rumours and I read the papers … but I haven’t heard anything from Sears yet.”
She admits there has been a decline in sales in the last five years. While she called it “unfortunate,” Moore said she will continue operating her used furniture business from her property on Bobcaygeon Road. She also rents out apartments and has storage space. At the time, she didn’t know when her last day of business would be.
Haliburton store owner Adrian Vargas found out during a conference call the same day.
“We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this has caused,” said Vargas, who owns the store with his wife, Wendy. “We had nothing to do with this.”
“We saw the writing on the wall, but it’s still pretty hard to hear,” he added.
They will start a liquidation sale Oct. 19. So far, they’ve returned about $40,000 to customers for products that haven’t yet arrived because they don’t want anyone to be disappointed, said Vargas.
It’s been a crushing blow for the couple, who have two young boys. They live on the Highway 118 property, and have owned and operated the business for four years. They’re looking into all the options available to them, and they don’t plan on leaving Haliburton.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re not going anywhere,” he said.
They are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.
“Thank you to the community for supporting us this long, and thank you for such kind comments, messages and cards.”
Vargas has promised to keep the community in the loop regarding any developments.
In June, Sears closed 59 store locations and cut 2,900 jobs. It’s been reported that 12,000 jobs will be lost due to the nationwide shutdown.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.