The Shippensburg Lowe's on South Conestoga Drive will close by Feb. 1, 2019.
According to Maureen Wallace, manager of Lowe's Corporate Communications and Public Relations, “We announced today (Monday) the planned closure of a small number of under-performing Lowe’s stores in the U.S. and Canada to focus on strengthening our footprint of nearly 2,300 stores across North America. We will work to complete these closures by the end of January, focusing on a smooth transition for our customers and associates. We expect to retain most of our U.S. associates through transitions to a similar role at a nearby Lowe’s store. We conducted a rigorous strategic reassessment process to evaluate the performance of every store in the portfolio, with a focus on closing under-performing stores to maintain the overall health of the business. We plan to continue to evaluate all businesses and elements of the portfolio annually.”
Shippensburg employees were informed of the closure on Sunday. The store, which opened in April of 2008, employs more than 100 associates, both full- and part-time.
“While we won’t discuss specific store sales, this was a business decision to enable the organization to focus on our most profitable stores, improve the overall health of the store portfolio and grow our core home improvement business,” Wallace continued. “The decision was informed by the strategic reassessment work we have been doing over the last few months as we focus on building a stronger business. Closing under-performing stores is a necessary part of transforming our company and enabling investments into future growth opportunities that will help position us to win in today’s retail environment.”
Wallace said the 47 stores that are closing in the U.S. and Canada are located within 10 to 20 miles of another Lowe's location.
Lowe's locations in Chambersburg and Carlisle will remain open. Wallace said the portfolio will continue to be assessed annually. She did not comment if the state will see any other store closings in the near future.
Liquidation sales are expected to begin at the store, located at 250 S. Conestoga Drive, this Thursday.
The 139,535-square-foot space is listed for sale on Loopnet.com, for $26,106,195. The listing shows the Lowe's long-term double-net lease expires in June of 2031.
Shippensburg Township Supervisor Steve Oldt said the closing will definitely affect the tax base in the township.
“It's a shock to all of us,” he said Monday. “We had no advance warning. Personally, I've done a lot of shopping at Lowe's. I thought they were doing fine. Chambersburg and Carlisle have bigger stores. There must not be enough going on here to support a store in between.”
Oldt said the closure will definitely have a local impact.
“It's going to impact us locally on our tax base, as well as the school district,” he added. “We just finished our budget, and we are going to have to make an adjustment now because I think Lowe's was on the tax rolls at $6 million or $8 million. It will also affect the Earned Income Tax since they have over 100 employees there.”
Oldt said the land surrounding Lowe's includes two outparcels that are ready for development.
“I thought they would already be done by now, with restaurants or other businesses built there,” he said. “I thought our local economy was doing really well. Cumberland and Franklin counties are the two fastest growing counties in the state. Our population is growing and we are adding more rooftops. I guess it wasn't enough to keep the store open.”
Shoppers on Facebook were upset to learn of the upcoming closure, noting they rely heavily on the Shippensburg store and they prefer the customer service at the Shippensburg location. Several said they were calling Lowe's corporate offices to voice their displeasure with the store closure.
Others said the closure will help support local, family-owned businesses like Pague & Fegan Home and Hardware and McCune Lumber.
Lowe's employee Tiffany Kennedy wrote the following on Facebook to loyal customers: “I would like to take time and thank the local Shippensburg community for their love and support of the local Lowe's over the past 10 years. I have worked there from when the store first set the racks. I have created many awesome relationships with customers and coworkers. This is definitely a big deal for our community losing such a convenient big box store. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to help many of you love where you live! And, in turn, you have helped me love where I work. Although I am not happy about this change at all, change is inevitable in the retail world. I know many of you are angry or upset about this. However, I want you to know Lowe's will still be around to support you. Unfortunately, you will have to drive a little farther to get there. Many of you have expressed how impressed you are with our level of customer service. I want to let you all know that each employee has been taken care of and offered a position at another Lowe's. If you would like to continue seeing our smiling and helpful faces, please visit us in Chambersburg or Carlisle. The Shippensburg Lowe's liquidation starts this Thursday. Thank you all again for being such a great community to work in.”