By Rachel Kytonen
Lowe’s of Cambridge has closed its doors after nearly two years of serving the community.
After opening in September 2009, the home improvement store closed its doors at the end of the business day, Sunday, Aug. 14.
On Monday, the store sign was already taken down, and store employees were only allowed in the store to collect their personnel belongings. Customers were also being redirected to the Coon Rapids location.
Lowe’s spokesperson Stacey Lentz said Tuesday that the store employed 95 people—64 full-time employees and 31 part-time employees. Lentz said those employees will receive full pay and benefits for 60 days.
“The Cambridge location was one of seven stores across the country to close Sunday night,” Lentz said. “We missed our sales estimates from the offset, and initial sales were below projections. Despite the hard work of the employees, we didn’t see any scenario for profitability.”
Cambridge City Administrator Lynda Woulfe said the city received a fax from Lowe’s Corporate Headquarters about the closing on Sunday.
“It was a complete surprise,” Woulfe said. “The city is sadden by this news and the loss of jobs, especially since we recently checked in with the local manager and he indicated the store was hitting its revenue and expenditure targets.”
Woulfe said even though the building is vacant, the property taxes are still assessed against the parcel.
“By law, either Lowe’s Corporate or the bank that holds the mortgage are required to pay the taxes, and the May 2011 property tax payment was made,” Woulfe said. “Staff is already working on options to fill the space with Opus and other developers.”
The Lowe’s store was approximately 103,000 square feet and had an adjacent garden center. Lentz said it is always a hard decision to close a store. On Sunday, Lowe’s also closed stores in Kenai, Alaska; Elgin and Schaumburg, Ill.; Ticonderoga, N.Y.; Riverdale, Ga.; and Meriden, Conn.
“We are always evaluating the location of every store, and despite the employees hard work to serve the customers in that area, the sales targets weren’t being met in that area,” Lentz said.
Lentz stressed that customers with special orders will be contacted by Lowe’s, and those special orders will be fulfilled. Commercial projects will also be fulfilled by the Coon Rapids location.
At the store’s grand opening in September 2009, Store Manager Doug Cousino called the opening a “12 million investment for Lowe’s, and a big investment for Cambridge.”
Lowe’s operates more than 1,750 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Lowe’s is the world’s second-largest home improvement chain after The Home Depot.
All merchandise inquiries and/or pickup should be directed to the Coon Rapids location, 763-367-1340.