The SEARS Hometown store in the Mendenhall Mall is fore sale. District Manager Tom Caniglia will host a meet and greet with potential owners on Friday from 2-4 p.m. at the store. (Kevin Gullufsen | Juneau Empire)

The SEARS Hometown store in the Mendenhall Mall is fore sale. District Manager Tom Caniglia will host a meet and greet with potential owners on Friday from 2-4 p.m. at the store. (Kevin Gullufsen | Juneau Empire)

Thieves close thrift store, Sears needs an owner and Happy Camper closes

Thieves close thrift shop

After nearly three years with his thrift store Juneau Treasures, business owner Mark Dundore will say goodbye this Friday. He’s closing the shop for good, he told the Empire Tuesday, after pressure from shoplifters forced him to hire more workers, robbing the store of its profitability.

Dundore said his business fell prey to a group of brazen thieves who would intimidate his employees.

“The thieves are becoming more and more bold. They’re coming in groups of three and four and they’re intimidating my staff,” Dundore said.

In an effort to create a safer environment, Dundore said he doubled his employees’ hours so they wouldn’t be at work alone. The cost meant his business no longer made sense, he said, as labor expenses didn’t leave him much of a profit.

As a new business owner, he said he was prepared to not make much money, but he couldn’t continue to eat the costs for something he couldn’t control.

“I cannot afford double labor,” he said.

Dundore said he brought his concerns to Juneau Police Department, even providing video evidence from a security camera. JPD couldn’t catch the shoplifters, Dundore said. He blames in part Senate Bill 91, the omnibus criminal reform bill passed by the Alaska Legislature last year which changed the penalties for thefts under $250.

The closing of Juneau Treasures means Juneau is back to two thrift stores: St. Vincent de Paul, near the Juneau International Airport, and Salvation Army, downtown.

SEARS for sale

Always dreamed of owning an appliance retail store? The SEARS Hometown store in the Mendenhall Mall is for sale.

The store’s local owner didn’t renew their contract last summer, Portland-based District Manager Tom Caniglia said by phone Tuesday, but left the store in good standing. After the contract lapsed, the store went back into corporate hands.

SEARS Hometown, the only one of its kind in the state, is now looking for a new owner. Caniglia will make the trip to Juneau on Friday to meet with potential owners at an open house from 2-4 p.m.

He’s looking for somebody who wants to stay involved with the business, not just somebody who wants to pick up a paycheck.

”We’re looking for an owner-operator, somebody who wants to work in the store, grow the business and be part of the community,” Caniglia said.

SEARS Hometown stores are different than full SEARS stores. Inventory is pared down and they sell mostly appliances and hardware, not the full complement of clothes and household items larger SEARS stores sell.

The new owner will be a franchisee who leases the store from SEARS Hometown. It’s a different business relationship than a typical franchise, Caniglia said.

“The new owner would enter a contract from 3-5 years from SEARS Hometown to own and operate the store,” he said. “Basically, they earn their money through the commission of the sales of the products and services.”

Caniglia said Sears Hometown doesn’t like to advertise costs as there are a variety of ways to pay for the store. The store is currently fully staffed, he said.

There are Sears stores in Fairbanks, Wasilla and Anchorage stores, but no Sears Hometown stores in the rest of Alaska, Caniglia said.

Happy Camper will not reopen

Last year’s Juneau Empire Awards “Best Healthy Eating Option” winner, Happy Camper, will not reopen its food truck after the winter.

Finding convenient vegetarian food in Juneau got a little harder with the announcement, made on Facebook in February.

“What I appreciate and hold dear the most is the daily interactions with customers and my relationships that have formed with the local small business community,” Happy Camper owner Amanda Krafft wrote. “Thank you for your support and letting me into your lives one lunch hour at a time.”

Customers with outstanding gift certificates can settle up with Krafft by reaching out via social media or via eathappycamper@gmail.com.

Happy Camper, a vegan food truck downtown, will not open back up this season. (Kevin Gullufsen | Juneau Empire)

Happy Camper, a vegan food truck downtown, will not open back up this season. (Kevin Gullufsen | Juneau Empire)

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