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Here one day, gone the next: Kenai Lowe's closes for business

Kenai home improvement store closes overnight

Posted: August 16, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: August 16, 2011 - 4:53pm
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Workers who were not allowed to give their names paint over one of the signs at Lowe’s in Kenai on Monday morning. The store has been closed.

The Kenai Lowe’s has closed its doors a final time.

The store, which opened in November 2008, told employees that they were done after closing Sunday night.

“It is closed for good,” said Stacey Lentz, a spokesperson for Lowe’s.

Lentz said the store missed sales projections from the outset, which ultimately contributed to the corporation’s decision to close the store.

She said it was hard to speculate on the reason for that, but the economy was likely part of the problem.

Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said she thought Lowe’s was unlucky with the timing of its opening. She has read that the recession hit retail and real estate the hardest.

“Lowe’s is both of those,” Porter said. “The retail is specific to real estate.”

The Kenai store was the company’s only closure in Alaska, but six other stores closed in the United States.

The city of Kenai probably won’t be hurt by the closure financially except in how it hurts residents, said Rick Koch, Kenai’s city manager.

“The real impact is going to be employees and their families,” Koch said.

“We’re concerned about them.”

Porter agreed.

“My biggest concern and my thoughts certainly go toward the employees and their families,” Porter said.

The store has 79 employees. Lentz said 50 worked full-time, 29 were part-time.

Lentz said employees will receive pay and benefits for 60 days, and a small group is still working to close down the store. The store’s inventory is being sent to other stores and back to distribution centers, Lentz said. Sunday was the store’s final day of operations; no closing sale is planned.

Lentz said employees can apply to other Lowe’s stores, but the closest is in south Anchorage.

Koch said the city hopes the former employees will find new jobs in the area.

“We hope they’re able to find similar new employment in a timely way,” he said.

Koch said he didn’t expect the closure to substantially affect sales tax revenue.

“I doubt that we will lose very much at all,” Koch said.

The city didn’t see a substantial increase when the store opened, he said. Other stores in Kenai will likely pick up the business that Lowe’s was doing.

“I just think that business will go elsewhere in the city,” he said.

Recent sales tax numbers for the retail sector that includes Lowe’s were not immediately available. Clyde Johnson, from the Kenai Peninsula Borough, said he could not release financial information without approval from the borough’s finance director, who is on vacation.

While the store is no longer open for business, customers with special orders will be contacted about finishing out their projects. Most likely, the accounts will be taken care of by the south Anchorage store, Lentz said.

Lowe’s owns both the building and the land underneath it, Koch said.

Lentz said the company is looking for a new tenant.

Porter said she hopes Lowe’s will be able to sell or lease the building.

“As far as Kenai goes, we still have a strong economic base right here,” Porter said.

She cited a number of new and coming businesses, including Stanley Ford, GCI and an O’Reilly auto parts store, all in the same corridor on the Kenai Spur Highway, as proof that there is still a retail market in Kenai. Lowe’s was just the wrong type of retail, she said.

Porter and Koch both said they appreciate the effort Lowe’s made as a business, and as a part of the community.

Most recently, Lowe’s helped sell pies for the Kenai Senior Center during the July Fourth festivities, Porter said.

Porter called the corporation and its local employees were “stellar citizens.”

“(Lowe’s was) a very good business partner in this community,” Porter said.

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robert white
378
Points
robert white 08/16/11 - 08:44 am
0
0

lowes

Next to go Carrs in kenai...just not enough loot to support everyone...

jessnjeff
11
Points
jessnjeff 08/16/11 - 09:01 am
0
0

counting the days...

Someone could have asked a local if the economy and our little populations if we could afford to support another bix box store...and if anyone was going to be willing to leave Home Depot/SBS to shop at Lowe's....but no one asked.

No one asked us if the Sportsman's Warehouse was a good idea either....so we are all just counting the days until that too closes shop. Anyone want to place any bets on that one??

richardthe3rd
2
Points
richardthe3rd 08/16/11 - 10:01 am
0
0

Nothing new

Well another store bites the dust, Ms.Porter says we stil have stores for econamy and who is gonna hire the 70 or so people without Jobs,MsPorter or Lowells? Kenai is going down hill,theres bars, churches, Walmart,Home depot, and now Lowell's is closing, If it wasn't for the run of fish this summer we wold be up a creek with out a paddle and I really disagree with Ms.Porter. What they should do is shut down carts. People need to investigation carts for how there treating people,NOT GOOD ON CARTS, enough about that,I hope the people from Lowell's will get help. The economy is so bad its not even funny.

GillGuy
0
Points
GillGuy 08/16/11 - 04:24 pm
0
0

No Drama

Things like this happen everywhere. It's not the end of the world as some may say. Safeway, Freddies, Walmart, Home Depot, Subway, McDonalds and the like will do just fine. The sky isn't falling and there will be tomorrow. These companies help most of us maintain our standard of living by providing competitive marketing and most often excellent customer service for faulty product. I for one will continue to support good businesses whether localy owned or nationaly or internationaly.

Talonz1
0
Points
Talonz1 08/16/11 - 04:50 pm
0
0

Obama isn't to blame - it's US!

Yes, isn't it SO much easier to point fingers and blame someone else than shouldering some of the responsibility yourself? As I see it, we keep building the same type of stores until we are glutted with them. Of course they fail! Because we don't NEED 3 home improvement stores, 6 auto parts stores and a dozen sportswear shops! Has ANYONE ever thought of DIVERSITY? As in a store we DON'T have? How about a decent women's clothing store, a Game Stop, a computer store, a pet store that sells quality food for my parrot, a children's clothing store...just to name a few? The mall next to Safeway in Soldotna could be SO many things and yet it just sits. Why isn't there a gas station between Kenai and Nikiski? Or on Spur Highway between Soldotna and Kenai? We have real estate that could have so many uses, but it sits. And the mindset that 70 jobless people will just be "absorbed" back into the economy is a ridiculous notion at best. "All American City"? Sure is! No jobs, no support for the homeless, no Red Cross, no emergency services, lousy economy - yeah, we sure ARE "All American!"

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 08/16/11 - 06:36 pm
0
0

Doctors without Borders 8/16/11

I think that everyone knows about the Doctors without Borders group that travels the World providing Health Care & Assistance to fellow Human Beings .
You Know ! All those "3rd World Nations" with Millions of Starving & Sick.

Doctors without Borders just set up a Health Clinic in Clark County, Las Vegas, Nevada right here in the Good Ole USofA

There were so many unemployed or employed without medical benefits waiting in-line that 100's had to be turned away. You know those 3rd World AMERICANS without Jobs
or Health Care 50 Million Americans.

From what I just read, many Alaskans have No Clue of what its like to be without Employment & Income & they sounded very arrogant & & clueless to me.

Think about Your Fellow Alaskans & Their Families.

SPW "Airborne"

kenaibear2001
119
Points
kenaibear2001 08/16/11 - 07:23 pm
0
0

Rumor on the street is....

WalMart will be down-sizing to one of their new mini stores, ( WalMart has realized they made a mistake in opening in Kenai). http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/04/28/mini-wal-mart-coming-to-a-city-ne...

Thank goodness that there will be a new MAC Haus computer store opening in Soldotna.

Kenai will soon be a one fish town.

akmscott
92
Points
akmscott 08/16/11 - 07:43 pm
0
0

There's a Lowes built right

There's a Lowes built right next to every Home Depot.Check on the owner's history and you'll find out why.It's just done out of spite.

907nomad
29
Points
907nomad 08/16/11 - 08:29 pm
0
0

Not Surprised

akmscott is correct on the reason Lowes builds next door to every HomeDepot it can. The problem was that the city let them. Why Kenai govt thought another home improvement/ warehouse/national chain retail store was a good tax incentive/economy booster was a good idea should be answered by the local yokels who voted for them in the 1st place. The locals know what's needed and have a better idea of what will thrive. Why aren't the politicians listening to them and then going out and shopping/recruiting/inquiring those companies and business'? Priorities are not their strong suit apparently. Now another empty building and lost jobs. All for the quick buck to the city's coffers.

suzannerene
0
Points
suzannerene 08/17/11 - 01:15 am
0
0

The Lowe's store built a

The Lowe's store built a great structure for another store that is doing well in the community-that's all they did for the community-As I have grown up in the area I have seen several structures going up for business's that succeed in our town(s) and keep succeeding but Lowe's just built a structure for a great competitive store------AND THAT"S HOW THE WORLD SPINS AROUND"

Raoulduke
1819
Points
Raoulduke 08/17/11 - 07:19 am
0
0

The Blame goes to

If it were not for the absolute political corruption. The SALE of this country,and state by the same corrupt politicians,and the people who have been steadily re-electing these corrupt politician's.The state of the economy,and our way of life would be up the ladder a few more rungs.People have sat on their haunches.Allowing this to happen.There should be no complaints

Allen
555
Points
Allen 08/17/11 - 05:16 pm
0
0

Remember, it's the Kenai politicians

Remember, it's Kenai politicians such as Mayor Pat Porter and City Manager Rick Koch who lobby these big box stores to come to town, even when there is no way they can survive with Kenai's small population, poor location far off the Sterling Highway, and distance from Soldotna (people from Soldotna go to Fred Meyer, they're not driving 22 miles to Walmart to save a few cents).

There are some good questions above about why our local political leaders don't try to get small businesses that could succeed in Kenai to locate in Kenai. Probably the same reason why the local chamber of commerce fawns over the oil industry and ignores small businesses.

Talonz1
0
Points
Talonz1 08/17/11 - 10:32 pm
0
0

Sometimes small businesses are NOT the best option

While I will do everything in my power to support GOOD small businesses, there are some that are just plain awful. They are allowed to remain in business because they are paying off the politicians and/or "sponsor" every event in town. In the meantime, the owner is allowed to do everything but hold the customer at gunpoint to make a sale, treats their employees worse than third world slave labor and the "behind the scenes" are so filthy even the ravens wouldn't eat there. And yet they stay in business because, perish the thought, they are "locally owned", and far be it from anyone to discourage small business, even if it resembles a toxic waste dump. We need to elect people who have more concern for economic diversity and growth, and businesses that will stand the test of time, rather than just crossing someone's palm with gold (and most likely the gold dug out of the consumer's teeth!")

dhar
0
Points
dhar 08/18/11 - 07:03 pm
0
0

Lowe's

Another dead building in Kenai, one of many. We look like a big town at first glance, but look closer and half the city is empty. I suppose when the next business comes in they'll want to buy land and tear down more trees instead of moving into what we already have.
Why don't the city create a homeless shelter or transition place from one of these joints? We sure could use one.

jlmh
293
Points
jlmh 08/29/11 - 11:53 am
0
0

AKMScott's postulation is

AKMScott's postulation is just a rumor. See Snopes for the refutation and the real history of both Home Depot and Lowe's... completely unrelated. http://www.snopes.com/business/revenge/lowes.asp

drudge
3
Points
drudge 08/29/11 - 01:33 pm
0
0

@jlmh

Bravo! It's refreshing to see people not take everything they're told as fact. :)

AKMaineIac
14
Points
AKMaineIac 09/04/11 - 09:36 am
0
0

Home Depot will do more business, hire some of the displaced...

My understanding is that Home Depot is already adding staff to their payroll in anticipation of increased business. I've frankly been impressed with the staff at both stores. Helpful and friendly, if they can't answer a question they find someone who can. Nothing like the deserted spaces down south, in Maine, where you wander in the front door and don't see anyone. And you have to wander until you find someone if you've got a question. Then when you do, they're not worth the powder it would take...

Kenai will be okay after Lowes is gone... they were okay before Lowes came.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 12/03/11 - 08:55 am
0
0

More Employees than Customers

Last Summer 2011 I hired a Contractor & did alot of renovations to This Ole House.

Spent alot of Time & $Money$ in Both Home Depot & Lowes.

The last time i was in Lowes, there were more Employees than there were paying Customers & the parking lot was near empty. As I thought to myself, this business is about to Go Under, any business with more Employees than paying Customers won't last long.
That proved itself to be True right in the middle of the Construction Season August 2011.

SPW "Airborne"

stuartw13
-10
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0

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