By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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The chain announced this week it is closing its Sequim store after 14 years at 990-A E. Washington St.
Signs posted on the store's front windows announced the closure, which was confirmed Tuesday by Jim Mander-scheid, a team supervisor at the Sequim store.
Manderscheid said that the franchise's corporate headquarters had limited what he could say.
A Staples spokeswoman said she would not be able to answer several questions — including the reason for the closure and how many employees will be out of work — until later this week.
Manderscheid said some employees had been offered jobs at other Staples stores.
The closest one is in Silverdale.
The store's stock will be sent to other stores, he said.
The Staples departure leaves another hole in the plaza, which has 130,000 square feet of retail space, according to property owner Mike Foley.
“I don't know what to say. Hopefully, more companies will see the opportunities there,” Foley said in a phone interview from his home in Bothell.
Currently, the plaza's only occupants are the QFC grocery store, a branch of the Edward Jones financial advising firm and The Great Wall Chinese restaurant, which opened last month.
In January, Del's Feed & Farm Supply closed its doors after almost five years in the building next to Staples.
A former assistant manager of Del's, Alan Doros, said at the time that the rent on the store's space was set to increase $3,000 to $13,000 in March.
Foley said that was “inaccurate.” He proposed what he termed a “very modest increase” in the rent, but Del's still moved out.
Staples is operating on a lease established before Foley took ownership, he said, but he would not say what that rate was.
National retailer Big Lots store closed its store in Bell Creek Plaza in May 2007 after having been there for seven years.
The closure of the Sequim store came as Big Lots was contracting, closing 160 of its 1,400 stores in the U.S.
Big Lots opened a new 20,500-square-foot store in the Port Angeles Plaza, 1940 E. First St., on Friday.
Although he has Realtors recruiting tenants for Bell Creek Plaza, Foley said he thinks Sequim's commercial properties are outpacing demand for retail space beyond his shopping center.
“It's a problem all over town,” Foley said. “It's just tough out there right now.
“And they're looking to permit even more retail space, so I don't know that it's going to get any easier.”
In July, Sequim officials asked Clallam County for $1.5 million from the county's opportunity fund to help install roads for a long-proposed shopping center on 75 acres of currently vacant land off U.S. Highway 101 at Sequim Avenue.
While city officials said an unnamed firm had expressed interest in developing the site, property owner Mark Burrowes said he had not heard of any new development in building a big-box store at the site.
Mayor Ken Hays said Tuesday he had not heard about the Staples closure.
“It's hard to say what it means without knowing more about why they closed,” Hays said.
Staples reported Aug. 21 overall sales of $2.422 billion between June and August 2013, a 2.3 percent drop from the $2.480 billion in sales during the same time frame in 2012.
The reduced sales dropped the franchise's profits by $32 million from the previous year, falling from $131 million in operating income in the second quarter of 2012 to $100 million in the second quarter of 2013.
The chain closed 103 stores in North America and Europe from Aug. 4, 2012, to Aug. 3, 2013.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.