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Sears open again

Posted: May 31, 2011 - 9:05pm
The Sears store in Mendenhall Mall has reopened after what a Sears manager is calling a “minor hiccup.”   Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
The Sears store in Mendenhall Mall has reopened after what a Sears manager is calling a “minor hiccup.”

Sears is back open in Mendenhall Mall after a brief closure last week, the details of which are still unknown.

A Sears manager, who did not identify himself, said there was a “minor hiccup” but that it was resolved. Local Sears owner, Rena Sims, and mall manager Larry Bauer could not be reached for clarification.

When the store closed, Bauer gave a comment saying it was a corporate issue and that Sears was changing management. Corporate states it is involved but that the issue is a local one.

“We are sending representatives to the area to work with the landlord in hopes to reopen the store,” Sears Holdings Corp. Spokeswoman Kimberly Freely said of the closing. “It is privately owned and operated so any disputes between the landlord and the owner needs to be discussed with that owner and landlord. However, we hope to continue to serve customers in the community and to serve customers going forward.”

The closing comes shortly after a Juneau woman pled guilty to theft in the second degree from the store. In court, Sims stated she lost much more than the charges affirm. She said she lost more than $14,000 worth of merchandise, $7,500 in credit cards and $4,700 in televisions and VCRs. Christine Wallace, 23, struck an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to $2,515 in merchandise theft.

A warrant was issued for her husband, Jacob Whittington, who was allegedly involved in the theft.

Paperwork indicates issues with store ownership have come up before. Juneau Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Cathie Roemmich said Sears representative Michael Cato asked the Chamber for help selling the store in November 2007, after joining the Chamber and leaving brochures for running Sears.

Paperwork showed an owner in 2005 to be Bill Gissel.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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