Locals bring Sears store back to Point after eight-year absence
By Brandi Makuski
Don’t let the undressed front windows fool you; Sears is now open for business in south side Stevens Point.
“We were open for business yesterday,” said Bill Hoffman, co-owner of the franchise, on Sunday.
Hoffman, who also owns the popular Hoffman’s Hobbies in Stevens Point and Wausau, purchased the Sears Hometown Store franchise on Oct. 1 along with his business partner Caleb Cordy. Together, the two relocated the store from Village Park in Plover, where Hoffman said traffic counts weren’t right for the business, back to Church Street in Stevens Point.
“I’m a south-side Point guy to begin with, so it was important to me to begin stabilizing the south side of Stevens Point,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman and Cordy both say they immediately knew moving Sears back into its former location at 3274 Church Street was the right thing to do. The store had previously been a south side staple for more than a decade until moving to Plover in 2007.
“We brought some of the employees from Plover and we hired a few more, so four or five employees total,” Hoffman said of the store’s workforce. “It’ll take us a good week to organize and restock, but our cash registers are working, so we’re open.”
Touting his experience as a hands-on owner who relies on strong customer service, Hoffman said Cordy’s extensive experience in the construction trade made him the perfect partner.
Cordy, who worked in construction since age 14, and more recently at the Waupaca Foundry until Hoffman- who is a cousin to Cordy by marriage- asked him to partner for the relocated Sears. It’s Cordy’s first go as a business owner, but Hoffman’s been a successful part of many businesses in Central Wisconsin including, until recently, The Bottle Stop on Park Ridge Drive.
“I like start-ups; getting them off the ground and getting them running right,” Hoffman said. “Sears made sense because it’s a place I’ve always shopped. When it was on the south side for 14 years it was the only place you’d look at coming; the pricing, the quality, the brands- it’s the best of the best.”
The Sears Hometown Store will carry appliances, hardware, mattresses and exercise equipment, and will also be a delivery location for catalog sales.
“We can do what Amazon does; if you see a sweatshirt you like on Sears.com, we can get it right here,” Cordy said. “All you’ve got to do is pick it up. If you see it at any other Sears, you can pick it up here.”
Cordy and Hoffman renovated the space largely themselves, but also used some local contractors including Mid Wisconsin Flooring, Zblewski Painting and MSI Electric.
“We have a lot of support from family,” said Cordy. “That’s been a big one.”
That sense of family, the men say, has extended to former customers of the Sears location, who have already begun to return after seeing the storefront sign, which was seemingly installed overnight.
“We had a woman crying here, she was so happy to see it return to this space,” Hoffman said. “People are loyal to things they like.”
The new Sears is just the latest in a string of updates along the south side corridor, which include a newly-opened Kwik Trip, an expanded nearby car wash and a relocated Bucks and Bulls Archery- which was formerly located in part of the new Sears Hometown Store, but has since moved to a larger space one block to the south.
Sears Hometown Store is open Monday-Saturday 9 AM to 7 PM and Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM.