By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Del's Feed & Farm Supply, 990 E. Washington Place, opened in March 2008 in the mall anchored by a QFC grocery store.
Del's closed to the public for good Wednesday while inventory was transferred to other locations, Senior District Manager Scott Whitfield said Thursday in a telephone interview from his Lakewood office.
“I was notified we are going to close this store,” Whitfield said Thursday.
“That's the process we are in now.”
He would not comment on reasons for the closure.
It will be vacant “as soon as possible, is really kind of the timing,” Whitfield said.
The company issued a four-sentence news release Thursday that said the decision was made “only after a great deal of consideration.”
Company spokesman Rob Hoskins said the company would have no further comment.
Two key employees — the assistant manager and manager — recently quit, the former assistant manager, Alan Doros, said Thursday.
The store also was facing an increase of $3,000 in monthly rent to $13,000 a month beginning in March, he said.
“That was really the final nail in the coffin,” said Doros, who now works as the warehouse manager at The Co-op Farm & Garden, which competed with Del's.
The space occupied by Del's is leased from Union Community LLC of Mill Creek, according to Clallam County Assessor's Office records.
Calls to Union Community LLC of Mill Creek were not returned Thursday.
Tractor Supply Co.
Del's chain is owned by Tractor Supply Co. of Brentwood, Tenn., the largest retail farm and ranch store chain in the U.S., with 1,000 retail stores in 44 states, according to www.delsfarmsupply.com.
With the Sequim store shutting down, Del's, founded in 1972, now has 18 stores in Washington, three in Oregon, two in Hawaii and one in Idaho, Whitfield said.
Four employees remained at the store as of Thursday, he said.
Employees will receive severance packages and are being allowed to look for other work while Del's shuts down, Whitfield said.
“I'm hoping our team members have the opportunity to find jobs,” Whitfield added.
“I would imagine The Co-op will be a lot busier.”
Doros started his new job at The Co-op at 216 E. Washington St. in Sequim on Dec. 14.
“I'm the proud recipient of dumb luck in this case,” he said.
“It was a good company to work for,” Doros added.
The Co-op, which opened in 1936 and is the oldest store in Sequim, has 30 employees, Co-op General Manager Mike Youngquist said.
“[Del's] probably had an 8 [percent] to 10 percent effect on us of drop in our business,” Youngquist said.
“It caused us to tighten our operation, try to be a little more efficient.”
Youngquist speculated that Del's opened the store during an economic downturn that has seen no appreciable improvement.
“It's more a question of the overall economy than a situation with agriculture or anything else,” Youngquist said.
The poor economy is reflected in the increased number of horses for sale that he and others familiar with the industry have noticed, Youngquist added.
“In tough times, things like a horse are a luxury item,” he said.
Youngquist said he also has noticed more advertisements for free horses, which would have been unusual five years ago, when Del's opened.
“When people are trying to give horses away for free to good homes, that tells you right there that there are not a lot of buyers.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.