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Owner: Local Sears will keep selling Whirlpool |

Owner: Local Sears will keep selling Whirlpool

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Eden Cowart, owner of the Mountain Home Sears Hometown Store, talks about the different businesses that operate under the Sears name.
Scott Liles/The Baxter Bulletin

The recent decision of Sears to stop carrying most Whirlpool products will not have an impact on Mountain Home’s store because it is not a part of company’s corporate structure, store owner Eden Cowart said.

The Sears name covers three different businesses all working under the store’s name, Cowart said. Sears corporate, also known as Sears Full-Line, operates company-owned stores operating out of malls and standalone big-box stores. The company’s online retailer, Sears.com, is another separate institution. Sears Hometown Stores, like the one located in Mountain Home, are locally owned and have their own suppliers.

“The Hometown Stores are something completely separate from Sears corporate,” Cowart said. “We have our own buyers and vendors, and we will be able to carry Whirlpool products.”

The staff at the Mountain Home store just completed the most recent Whirlpool-specific training offered by Whirlpool Corp., Cowart said.

“To the normal person, I understand it’s confusing,” she said. “Sears doesn’t define the separation at all, but we have been trying to specify the difference wherever we can.”

Advertising shoppers for the Mountain Home Sears bear the name “Sears Hometown Store,” and numerous signs around the store stress that they are locally owned and operated. As of yet, Hometown Store owners are not allowed to add “Hometown” to the Sears signs on the front of the building, Cowart said.

Earlier this month, Sears corporate announced internally that it would end its 101-year association with Whirlpool Corp. and stop selling most Whirlpool products after the two companies could not agree on pricing terms. That decision made headlines last week when copies of that internal memo were released to the media.

In addition to Whirlpool appliances, the manufacturer also markets Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air products, among others. Whirlpool also manufactures appliances under the Kenmore name for Sears Holding Corp.

The Mountain Home Sears Hometown Store offers appliances from 10 major brands — Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Jenn-Air, Samsung, LG, GE, Bosch, Frigidaire and Electrolux. Hometown Stores primarily focus on appliances, lawn/garden, tools and mattresses, Cowart said, but are able to order any item carried by Sears corporate stores.

Mountain Home’s Sears store first opened its doors in 1964. In 1994, the store moved from its first location in downtown Mountain Home to its current location beside the building presently occupied by Orscheln Farm Home off of U.S. Hwy. 62/412-Business. Cowart purchased the store from her father, Jim Allen, in 2004.

“Since 1964, one family has owned this store,” Cowart said. “We’re proud of that.”

Since 2010, the number of Sears corporate stores has dropped from 3,500 to under 700. In 2017 alone, Sears corporate closed more than 50 stores across 40 states. By comparison, there are presently more than 1,000 Hometown Stores in the United States.

“I know it sounds scary to people, that Sears is closing stores and selling off its famous brands,” Cowart said. “We have people that come in all the time, and ask if we are closing. We try our best to explain to them that was corporate, this is us. We’re not going anywhere.”

Sears Hometown Store

1029 Hwy. 62 East Suite #1

(870) 425-3191

MON-SAT. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

SUN. 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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