Last updated: January 21. 2014 11:36PM - 1106 Views
By William Duffield bduffield@civitasmedia.com

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XENIA — There will be 57 less employed people in the City of Xenia as the announcement has come down from Kmart store at 200 West Main Street will close at the end of April.

A release from Sears Holding Company, the corporate headquarters for Kmart, stated “The Kmart store in Xenia will close to the public in late April. Until then, the store will remain open for customers.”

Xenia council vice president Joshua Long said the loss does hurt.

“(It is) disheartening to lose any business and I’m sorry for the resulting job loss and families impacted,” Long said. “These decisions are based on revenue and made states away, not locally.

“We have to move forward and my opinion is the future of Town Square is not in its current configuration, but the plaza needs redeveloped to become a part of our downtown central business district again.

“The X-Plan talks at great length to this and the possibilities there. Unfortunately, due to decisions (made) decades ago, when long term leases were arranged, our hands as a community are tied in many ways. It will require all the parties, including the current lease owners and the City to work together.”

The City of Xenia’s City Manager’s Office released a statement late Tuesday.

“Kmart and its parent, Sears Holding Company, has been going through a corporate restructuring for the past several years and the possibility of the Xenia Kmart closing is now a looming reality,” the release states. “The announcement that Kmart in Xenia is closing is a disappointment to our community. The City of Xenia worked recently to develop the outparcel along Main Street in an effort to attract more traffic to the store, but we were unable to reach agreement with Sears Holding.

“We realize many people, especially those living nearby in downtown Xenia, relied on Kmart for many of their basic needs. We are also concerned for the employees and the impact this closure will have on their families. City staff will work closely with Kmart and Greene County agencies to address the concerns of displaced employees. Likewise we will work to identify solutions and new opportunities for downtown retail consumers to have their needs met.

“Redevelopment of the entire Xenia Towne Square shopping plaza, including the Kmart space, is a priority under the recently adopted X-Plan. The City will be moving up its plans to engage business owners, lease holders, and other downtown stakeholders in an effort to formulate revitalization ideas. Though it will be a long-term process, creating an entertaining and aesthetically pleasing downtown development which is attractive to new retailers is our ultimate goal.”

The Xenia store will begin a liquidation on Feb. 9.

“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” the corporate release said. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home.”

The 57 employees, mostly part time/hourly status, may be eligible for severence packages and be able to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.

“It’s sad to hear that any store is closing with the resulting loss of jobs in the community,” Alan Liming, president and CEO of the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce, said. “Although this may seem like a step backward, I’m hoping we can build a positive out of this.

“An example is the Super Valu warehouse purchase by a developer recently.”

William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield

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