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Sears Hometown announced its closing for good in January. --Dustin Duncan

Valley Sears Hometown to close

VALLEY – A local hardware and appliance store in Valley will close its doors after the new year.

Michael Jay and Sarah Ezell, owners of Sears Hometown in Valley, have announced the store will close for good Jan. 12. The couple purchased the franchise in February of 2014.

“We appreciate the Valley’s business,” Michael Ezell said. “We had a good run.”

Ezell said Sears Holdings Corporation, the franchise’s parent company, declared bankruptcy Oct. 15 of this year, making business conditions much more challenging. Sears Hometown had contingencies in place to stay in business, but Ezell said those failed. He said the severity of Sears Holdings’ bankruptcy caused Sears Hometown to lose several large accounts.

Ezell said making the decision to close was “real hard,” adding that both he and his wife enjoyed running the business.

“The writing was on the wall for me,” he said. “When Sears sold Craftsman to Stanley, that was the death blow to me.”

In early 2017, Sears sold its signature tool brand Craftsman, which used to only be available in Sears stores and came with a lifetime warranty, to Stanley Black & Decker for about $900 million in an effort to raise capital.

“People buy Craftsman because it is USA made and has the lifetime warranty,” Ezell said. “When it becomes like every other tool, it’ll be like every other tool.”

After the news of the bankruptcy, Ezell said Sears Hometown gave him the opportunity to get out of his contract, and he took it. The liquidation sale at his location started Nov. 30 and will go on until his final day of business.

The sale starts at 30 percent off on all merchandise and 70 percent off mattresses.  He said the discounts will become more aggressive if the merchandise doesn’t move quickly and the closer it gets to Jan. 12.

Ezell and his wife are both lifelong residents of the Valley, residing in Huguley. He said he doesn’t know what’s next, but is 44 years old and a pastor at the New Testament Tabernacle Church in Lanett. As such, he feels he can land on his feet.

Sears Holdings announced in October it will close another 142 stores by the end of 2017. That number was in addition to the 46 store closures that came with the bankruptcy announcement. The company has a total of 687 stores and about 68,000 employees. That number doesn’t include the number of subsidiary franchises such as Sears Hometown stores throughout the country.

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