Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

Big K calling it quits

The Kmart store is slated for closure in April.

 

January 10, 2018

Thomas Garcia

Tucumcari's Kmart retail store was one of two in New Mexico slated for closure by the Sears Holding Company. The store will close officially on April 8.

The announcement of the impending closure of the Kmart store in Tucumcari has local officials scrambling to find replacement retail option for residents.

"The closure of the Kmart was not due to the lack of local support," said Patrick Vanderpool, executive director of the Tucumcari Greater Economic Development Corp.

Vanderpool spoke Monday during the Quay County Commission meeting about the store closure. He said the local retail store showed sales of more than $4 million. However, the sales status of the retail chain nationally led to the closures.

Vanderpool said it's one of two Kmarts to be closed in the state, along with the Raton location.

Locally the closure will result in the loss of 35 part-time jobs and five full-time positions.

Eligible associates will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores, according to a release from Larry Costello, public relations director of Hardlines Sears Holdings.

"Is there any way to approach or attract another box store retailer into coming to Tucumcari?," asked Mike Cherry District 1 Commissioner.

Vanderpool said the building occupied by Kmart is owned by a group of investors based in California. He said since the announcement of the closure, contact has been made with the group and discussions have begun about the possibilities of bringing in another business.

"One of the main issues is the lease of the building by Sears Holdings is through 2019," Vanderpool said. "I will continue to communicate, work with the group of investors in hopes of finding a new retailer to fill the building."

Kmart official closing date for the Tucumcari location has been set for April 8.

"With the Closure of Tucumcari's Kmart there are more than 40 local residents who will be without a job," said District 2 Commissioner Sue Dowell.

Dowell said in late December the local office of the New Mexico Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging notified their employees they would be closed effective on Jan 31.

"Finding, bringing in jobs to the area needs to be a priority," Dowell said. "Another area that needs to be addressed is providing customer service training and development."

Dowell said some employers are finding it hard to find qualified workers. She said there is a need for training and development of the local workforce.

Vanderpool said he is working with the New Mexico State University and the state's Department of Work Force Solutions to offer programs for customer and server training. He said there are discussions to bring in a solar works project into the area. This project could bring in 150 jobs to the area in a five-year period.

 

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