BELLINGHAM - Sears soon will have a retail store back in town, but one that is focused on appliances and tools.
A permit application was recently filed with the city to put a Sears Hometown store at 3548 Meridian St., south of Interstate 5 and across the street from the Bellingham Golf & Country Club.
According to the building permit, the company will use 14,185 square feet of the west section of the building. Bellingham's Marcus M. Johnson, Architects is the architect on the tenant improvement project.
The plans are still in the early stages, but the company is aiming for a late-fall opening, said Stephen Wood, senior manager of new store projects for the company.
"We're excited to be bringing this store to Bellingham," Wood said. "We think there is a demand for the products this store will offer."
Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores Inc. spun off of Sears Holdings Inc. in October 2012. Sears Holdings operates the full-line department stores.
A Sears Hometown store is smaller and focuses on appliances, tools and gardening equipment, including lawn mowers. The company has several Hometown stores in Washington, including in Marysville and Oak Harbor.
Sears has a long history in the Whatcom County market but closed its 82,000-square-foot Bellis Fair store in January. Most of that Bellis Fair space is scheduled to reopen as Sports Authority on Friday, Aug. 2.
The arrival of Sears Hometown also will help fill a building that's been lacking a year-round retail tenant for some time. It was formerly home to Cascade Furniture, which closed at the beginning of the economic downturn; before that the building was home to the Michaels arts and crafts store before it moved north up Meridian Street about 10 years ago.