WILLMAR - The hits keep coming for the Kandi Mall as another longtime tenant is going out of business. The Sears Hometown store, owned by Joel Garza, is closing. According to the store's Facebook page, the liquidation sale started on Nov. 30 and will go through Jan. 12.
In October, when Sears announced its bankruptcy filing, Garza told the West Central Tribune his Hometown Store would not be impacted by the bankruptcy, because Sears Hometown is not owned by Sears Holding. Sears Hometown and Outlets became its own company several years ago, seperating from Sears Holdings, the owner of the Sears department stores and Kmart. Sears Hometown stores are independently owned and are licensees of the Sears brand.
The West Central Tribune tried to reach Garza several times Monday regarding the closure but messages were not returnedears Hometown sells appliances, tools and lawn and garden equipment. The Willmar store's website said it has been in business for 24 years.
The Alexandria Sears Hometown is also closing, according to its Facebook page and the Sears Hometown website.
This is just the latest store to close at the Kandi Mall, which is owned by RockStep Capital of Houston, Texas. Herberger's, and its Home Store, both closed at the end of August, when the parent company Bon-Ton went bankrupt. Book World shuttered at the end of 2017 when its company went out of business. The location of the Kmart has stood empty since 2012, when it was closed by Sears Holdings.
RockStep Capital has been working to fill the empty spaces in the mall. Last month Andy Weiner, president of RockStep, said there has been positive movement regarding bringing national retailers into the Kmart portion of the mall. No official announcements have been made.