Sears seeks local dealer store owner

Donelle Pardee Whiting

As Washington continues to grow, its demographics are looking pretty good to Sears Holding Corp.

Regional New Market Development for Sears Dealer stores, Charles Todd, said he liked the look of Washington as a possible location for an authorized Sears Dealer Store.

Sears Dealer Stores typically have between 6,000 and 10,000 square feet of selling space, offering tools, lawn and garden supplies, hardware, high-end TVs, fitness equipment and mattresses. However, about half of the inventory focuses on appliances, Todd said, adding local repair service is offered, as well as product protection agreements and a satisfaction guarantee.

Todd said Sears is looking for an entrepreneurial person who would like to own his own business.

Because a dealer store is different than a franchise, there is “very minimal investment involved,” Todd said.

According to www.searsdealerstores.com, “Unlike most franchise opportunities, there are no worries about inventory investment. No fees or royalties are collected by Sears. There are no transportation costs — two trucks a week bring customer merchandise” to the store.

Sears does not require an individual to purchase inventory or pay an annual licensing fee, Todd said.

Dealer stores are supported by the Sears retail network, which includes providing all inventory, advertising, point-of-sale computer systems, delivery support and training.

Todd said because many people today do not want to work for someone else, a Sears Dealer Store is a good opportunity to be a business owner.

Dealer store owners earn a commission on merchandise sold. Additional income is earned through commissions on protection agreement sales, delivery income, installation income and incentive bonuses.

Todd said the dealer is responsible for start-up and on-going operating expenses associated with the store, including building or leasing a facility, providing in-store fixtures, hiring and training employers, payroll and insurance.

There are currently more than 860 dealer stores in 48 states with 150 new stores planned for 2008.

Sears launched the dealer stores in 1992, Todd said, after closing the catalog division.

He added that Sears started seeing a loss of business in the smaller stores in rural towns, so the company created the dealer stores in an effort to reconnect with customers.

“We wanted to have a presence in small-town America,” Todd said, “but with people owning their own business.”

Once a candidate is accepted, Todd said he will work with the new store owner to find an ideal location.

Although he already had some Washington candidates, Todd said he is still looking.

Prospective business owners can go to www.searsdealerstores.com for more information and to download an application.

Applications can be faxed to Todd at 630-578-0164. There is no deadline, but Todd said the sooner the better.

Interested candidates can also e-mail Todd at ctodd12@searshc.com, or call 847-452-7788.

Todd said he is also willing to meet in person to discuss the Sears business opportunity.