ST. GEORGE – After six years in business, the 963 S. Bluff Street branch of the worldwide office supply chain Staples will close its doors on Saturday.
Customers have been emptying the shelves; many items are being offered at discounts of 50 percent or more.
The store is closing as part of a company-wide downsizing process. The other local Staples store at 245 Red Cliffs Drive in St. George will remain open.
“It’s sad. This is a really good location. I like the people and the convenience,” shopper Julie Munford said. “Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll go to the other one.”
“We’re here once a week for office supplies,” another shopper, Joe Hudson, said. “The location is why I come here.”
Staples is working to arrange transfers to the Red Cliffs store for some of the employees. Team supervisor Kelsie Carayas has worked for Staples for seven years, but will no longer be with the company as of Saturday and already has another job. “They just said it was a business decision,” she said of the closing.
“I got a summer job somewhere else,” sales/copy center associate Jaycee French said.
Nick Dunn, public information officer for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said that Washington County currently has a 4.1 percent job growth rate in the retail industry alone.
“With 10-19 employees and some of them being transferred, this store closing won’t result in a significant job loss,” Dunn said, “and a fairly minimal economic impact on the area.”
Other companies are already showing interest in leasing the commercial property, which is owned by the Las Vegas-based Coliseum Apartments, LLC.
“There’s been a lot of interest in the property,” said Jon Walter, commercial investment consultant with NAI Utah South. “We are in the process of considering and negotiating several proposals right now.”
Earlier this month, various news agencies reported that Staples is planning to close 225 locations –about 12 percent of the company’s stores – across North America by summer 2015, part of an effort to cut operational costs in the face of declining business. Nearly half of the company’s sales are now online.
Online merchandisers Amazon.com and eBay pose a growing threat to companies like Staples, offering a broader variety of products at prices brick-and-mortar retailers generally can’t compete with.
“We continually evaluate our store performance to ensure we’re operating the business in the best way,” public relations specialist Kaitlyn Reardon said. “As customers shift online, we are taking aggressive action to right-size our retail footprint.”
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