Sears in Corbin was once one of the “go-to” stores for individuals needing appliances or tools and manager Tim Petro is working to return the store to those days.
Petro was brought in to manage the store located in Forest Hills Shopping Center on Aug. 2, a few weeks after Kyle Perkins purchased the business.
“It was trending at a really big loss,” Petro said of the Corbin store, noting it was typically staffed by just one person.
The first thing Petro did was ensure that there was two people working, especially during peak times.
“That one person made all the difference in the world,” Petro said, noting that customers weren’t kept standing around and waiting for help.
In addition, Petro said the general appearance of the store became a priority.
“When customers walk in, the store is clean and presentable,” Petro said.
Those little changes have resulted in a big change at the cash register.
Petro said word of mouth about the changes has seen the store’s traffic increase about 30 percent each month.
The store is classified as a “hometown store,” meaning it does not carry the full range of merchandise, but focuses on appliances, tools and lawn equipment.
“We are second in the nation in growth,” Petro said, noting the store has seen a 115 percent increase in business over the last year.
Perkins credited Petro and the employees he has hired for the store’s turnaround.
“We didn’t really expect it to happen this fast,” Perkins said, noting soon after starting, Petro went to Sears’ training program, and when he returned he went right to work instituting the changes.
“I think it is all due to customer service and Tim’s work,” Perkins said.
Perkins said over the next year, he would like to see the store continue to grow. Physically, that will be happening as new space in Forest Hills is undergoing renovations with the goal of opening later this month.
In addition to existing products, Petro said the new location will include paint and the Sears Kitchen tune-up kitchen remodeling.
The Kitchen tune-up includes cabinet restoration and granite countertop resurfacing.
“My commitment is to continue to support the store and the personnel in there for continued sales growth,” Perkins said.
“It is all Tim and his team,” he said. “I’ve given them the tools to work with and they have done an amazing job. It is refreshing to see that.”