Lowe’s of Cambridge closes its doors

The Lowe's sign was taken down by Monday, Aug. 15. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

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.

  • Susan

    I would like to know who did the marketing research for this investment. You took away my kid’s baseball field for this and now we all get to drive by an empty building. I am outraged at the waste of time and resources that Cambridge allowed to happen. Next time let us use something this is already here that might need some work/upgrades. Americans waste everything. People who choose to live in small town want to see the scenary, the land, etc….not an empty building that was stupid decision. If we need to go to Lowes, or a special store then we head down to the cities. Let’s preserve our land what small town USA is all about.

  • Kris

    You knew this place wasn’t going to make it in Cambridge!

  • Patti

    This was a nice addition to Cambridge. I shopped this store often. What a shame to see more jobs lost in this community.

  • Carissa

    Not a surprise. Way to expensive for the area.

  • Dunham

    This should be a lesson to companies. If you go to a town and you can already buy the same kind of product in that town no need to open the same kind of store! Especially if you are going to charge more.

  • Corey

    You had to see this coming. Menard’s has a solid foothold in this area and Lowe’s had a very slim chance of survival up here. It was a shame to see the community’s baseball fields removed for this project that had a sliver of hope at best at survival. I worked at the Menards in Cambridge for the better part of 4 years and over 7 years total. Whichever store I worked at, the nearby Lowe’s seemed to be struggling just based on their car count during the peak times of the day. It will be interesting to see what will happen with the building now. Will someone buy it and retro-fit it, or will it be razed and maybe we can get our baseball fields back? This will definitely be interesting to see.

  • Don

    Very bummed out about this closing of this great store, liked it better than Menards. Maybe now Fleet Farm could purchase this new building and include another option for gas in the area

  • LynnK

    I thought new baseball fields were put in north of the fairgrounds. Am I wrong about that?

  • http://n/a Kari

    I’m not surprised that Lowes closed. The prices were excessive on most of their products. I did enjoy shopping there though due to their knowledgeable employees that were eager to help. I was outraged when they announced that Lowes was going to open due to the fact that Cambridge already had a Menards. I will admit though, I am sincerely hoping that Mayor Marlys and the members on the city council will start to advocate for a FLEET FARM!!! I think that Fleet Farm would be a huge asset to the area and we would draw so many people from other surrounding towns. Especially with FleetGo closing its doors in a few weeks, there is no reason not to consider a Fleet Farm!

  • Saint

    it is better to have had and lost then to never try it at all. You all should relaize that things need to test to see if they will work. Lowes was a great place, I went there often. Menards was a waste to go through when Lowes helped you the whole way through the project. if you dont like the direction the city took to try and bring in more business, leave

  • Matt

    I would like to see a Gander Mountain

  • Jake

    Man, that was a waste. IMO, the only options for business in that vacant spot would be, as others have said, a Fleet Farm or a Tractor Supply Company.

  • Billybob432

    You’re worried and upset over baseball fields? Honestly? Such arrogance. It’s all about you, right?

    Last I heard, baseball fields generate little to no revenue for the town/county compared to a big box store.

    You really think the council had a difficult time in deciding to eliminate a baseball/football/soccer field in favor of a Lowes? It was a no brainer.

    What the area really needs is a Fleet Farm. Heck, even if they have to invoke eminent domain and buy out a few dozen homes, I say DO IT.

    • JD

      OH yeah, BillyBob…a Fleet Farm. Hello? Have you noticed that the FleetGo has gone out of business? We don’t need more farm equipment stores. We need businesses that manufacture product, create jobs and revenue that would then create the need for more stores. Cambridge’s ragged plan to make itself the “Retail Hub of Central Minnesota” went out the window years ago. North Branch wasn’t paying attention and has decided it doesn’t want to be subservient to Cambridge. What the area needs are businesses that manufacture and serve. We have trains and highways right where they need to be. Cambridge could also be a quaint, lovely, charming tourist spot. The “Rum River” is bragged up, but…who cares. You drive over it. They have a park next to it. wow. nice, but…ok…is that it? Go visit most any inviting, growing city built along a river or lake…you’ll see that the best cities have carefully made the water a focal point for visitors, tourists, etc . There is so much that could be done in this city, but its “farmville” attitude will not allow it to grow and flourish beyond it’s “farm supply center” mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I support and appreciate farms, farming and farmers. They have one of the toughest and least appreciated jobs around. I just happen to think that Cambridge can be more than a farm community. It has some really beautiful attributes that can be “exploited” without damaging them.

  • JD

    If anyone is surprised by this, they need a reality check. They should have been shocked, when, two years ago, Lowes made the decision to proceed with plans to open this store. Any clear thinking business persons paying attention to the economy back then, especially that of this particular area, would have cut their losses and opted out. But as one writer noted, we now get to look at a vacant building vs. ball fields that were regularly used. It really makes me wonder…WHO engineered the whole project? Was it Cambridge Township, Cambridge City Council, some greedy real estate developer who waltzed off with pockets full of cash? Could Lowes have really been that stupid? Please don’t tell me that ignorance alone was at work here. I remember reading an article in which some moron executive “slyly” announced that the guys with the big “blue gable” would be coming to town, and thinking “Seriously? Lowes is foolish enough to put a store HERE, at THIS time?” Three quarters of the newspaper consisted of foreclosures! I was shocked then, but I’m not surprised at all now.

  • Chris

    Texas Roadhouse anyone? They need one of those up here. It would take up less space an generate far more revenue then quite a few places and also would provide more than the 95 jobs that Lowes did. Also, Texas Roadhouse is very well known for community involvement and giving back. :)

  • Kari

    We do need a Mills Fleet Farm. Fleet Go didn’t work because they didn’t carry the items most farming people need and their prices were too high. A lot of us further north who shop Target, Menards, Kohls and WalMart in Cambridge would never have to go to St Cloud again if we got a Mills Fleet Farm. Of course, it would have to be stocked for our area like St Cloud’s store is. The Blaine one is a joke. IT would be really great to get everything in Cambridge!

  • Joe C,

    Target hould acquire the building a create a SuperTarget. Wal-Mart is low quality and needs real competition.

    • Jeremy Rector

      Exactly, Target could creat a SuperTarget on site. Wal-Mart is low quality, low quality staff, low quality product, and needs competition. Although this area has a lot of white trash that love Wal-Mart, the workers and non bottom feeders would love a SuperTarget!

  • A Pause for the COZ

    Thats too bad. I really preferred to shop at lowes. Although I was not surprised when they closed. You could see the two parking lots and know most people were still after the lower price/ crappy service from Menards.