Sears Closing Hanover Twp. Warehouse

January 22, 2019
Sears Closing Hanover Twp. Warehouse

The massive Sears warehouse which spreads through Hanover Twp., Sugar Notch and Warrior Run is closing in May and more than 120 people are losing their jobs, according to employees.

Some workers said they were notified of the closing last Thursday and others found out in a meeting Monday morning. The employees asked to remain anonymous because they were told not to speak to the media.

A few long-time employees also posted about the closing on Facebook.

One employee, who said she worked there for 27 years, said she was told she would no longer have a job as of March. Another employee was told she would not have a job as of April.

“It is with great sadness the news that was delivered to our Sears family yesterday about closing our warehouse is finally starting to sink in,” an employee said in a Facebook post on Friday. “We will all go our separate ways with saddened hearts but also with hearts fill with great memories.”

About 700 people worked at the Sears warehouse that sits on 127 acres of land in the Hanover Industrial Estates at one time but, according to employees, that number dropped in recent years. Some employees said they have worked there for more than 20 years and were told they would receive a maximum of four weeks severance pay. The warehouse opened in 1992.

Innovel Solutions, part of Sears Holdings Corp., sold the building at 1055 Hanover St. last year to Irvine, California-based LBA Realty for $43,750,000, according to a deed filed in Luzerne County Recorder of Deeds.

Sears Holdings has continued to operate the distribution center and leased it from LBA Realty, Sears spokesman Howard Riefs previously said.

An official at the Sears warehouse referred questions about it closing to Riefs. Efforts to reach Riefs on Monday were unsuccessful.

The distribution center handled transportation, delivery and customer service for Sears products.

Sears closed its store in the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Twp. last year. It was the last Sears store in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Another Sears store in the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City closed in 2016. It was demolished and replaced by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream and HomeGoods.

The Sears store in the Stroud Mall in Stroud Twp. in Monroe County was the most recent store to close.

Sears was an American retail staple since 1886. In recent years, however, Sears has been closing stores, selling off assets and borrowing money as it has struggled to compete with a rise in discount stores and a shift to online shopping.

The company, which also owns the Kmart chain, has closed hundreds of stores, cut thousands of jobs and posted seven straight years of losses.

Last year, Kmart stores in Pittston Twp., Hazle Twp., Moosic and Texas Twp. near Honesdale closed. Kmart stores in Wilkes-Barre Twp. and Edwardsville remain open.

Sears Holdings Corp. announced last year that it would close another distribution center in Jacksonville, Florida in mid-April this year as the company downsized through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Sears also sold that warehouse, measuring almost 750,000 square feet, to California-based LBA Realty as well while Sears continued to lease the facility which distributed merchandise to Sears and Kmart stores. The distribution work from the Jacksonville warehouse will be moved to another distribution center in Ocala, Florida

Last week, Sears Holdings Corp. announced that Chairman Edward Lampert won a bankruptcy auction with a $5.2 billion proposal to keep the retailer in business. Pending approval, Lampert plans to keep at least 400 stores operating, down from about 1,000 a year ago.

Contact the writer: dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh