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The Sears location is projected to close by February

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington Sears location at Animas Valley Mall — scheduled to close next year — could possibly have a new tenant as Hobby Lobby has filed plans to renovate the space.

Transformco, the owner of Kmart and Sears, announced on Nov. 7 it would close 96 stores in an attempt to streamline its operations in a difficult retail environment, according to a company statement.

The Farmington location at 4601 E. Main St. is the only Sears or Kmart location statewide closing in this round of store closures, where 51 Sears locations and 45 Kmart locations are closing nationwide.

Edward Brzowsky, Farmington Sears Store Manager, declined comment on the closing.

Jeff Ring, Senior General Manager for Animas Valley Mall, said in a statement it was disappointing to hear of the closure, but it was not entirely unexpected.

“Sears has been a great retailer at Animas Valley Mall for 37 (plus) years. They have stayed open and operating in the mall much longer than many other Sears stores across the country," Ring said. "I believe this speaks highly of Farmington, San Juan County and our regional market."

The Sears location at Animas Valley Mall was one of the first tenants in the mall, and the store opened early in August 1982, according to The Daily Times archives. The mall itself opened in September 1982.

For Sears, the going out of business sales are set to begin on Dec. 2 with stores expected to close by February.

The Transformco statement says eligible employees will be offered severance.

Hobby Lobby

Tenant improvement plans were filed by architecture firm SGA Design Group of Tulsa, Oklahoma with the City of Farmington Building Inspection Division to renovate the current Sears location into a location for Hobby Lobby to operate.

Hobby Lobby corporate did not respond to a request for comment on future plans for the Farmington store.

Ring said the Brookfield Properties corporate leasing team is working to replace Sears, and when the time is appropriate, the mall will announce the replacement tenant.

The Farmington Hobby Lobby location is at 3040 E. 20th St. in the San Juan Plaza.

The tenant improvement plans for the closing Sears space were approved on Aug. 15, but no building permit has been issued by the City of Farmington.

A review of the plans illustrates how the 66,917 square-foot space would be reconfigured for Hobby Lobby to operate inside the current Sears space.

The sales floor would be cleared out for new shelving to be installed, and the plans listed where each department would be located inside the renovated space.

A new vestibule, or storefront, would be installed at the northwest entrance, which faces East Main Street.

The Hobby Lobby location in Gallup resides in Rio West Mall at 1300 W. Maloney Ave.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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