MATTOON -- Veteran manager Tanner Kroening is the new owner of the Sears Hometown Store in downtown Mattoon.
Kroening said he assumed ownership of the store earlier this year from his parents, Terry and Jan Kroening. He had served as the manager since the store opened in October 2015 in the newly renovated building at 1601 Broadway Ave.
"It made for a really easy transition," Kroening said of his experience as manager. He added that he has long enjoyed working in customer service. "I like talking with customers and working with people."
Now as store owner, Kroening said he continues to work alongside his small staff of employees. He said this staff includes manager Garet Shuemaker, who has been with the store from the beginning.
Kroening said the store's products and services have stayed the same following the ownership change. He added that Sears Hometown Stores operate separately from Sears Holdings Corp., so they are not affected by corporate store closures. He said new Hometown Store franchises are being opened.
In addition, Kroening said his business and other Sears Hometown Stores are still selling Craftsman tools even though Sears Holdings has sold this product line.
"Our relationship with Craftsman really hasn't changed at all," Kroening said. "We will definitely continue to carry Craftsman brand products."
The downtown Sears Hometown Store also sells clothes dryers and washers, ovens, refrigerators and other large appliances; riding lawn mowers and other lawn care equipment; and mattresses, vacuums, humidifiers and other products.
Kroening said the store and its customers can order products online at http://www.searshometownstores.com/ and have these items delivered to the store at no cost to the customers.
Some of the store's other services include financing and a lease-to-own program for customer purchases, delivery for large products, in-store repairs for hand tools and other small items, and at-home repairs by a contractor for appliances and riding mowers. The store also honors Sears cards.
The Sears Hometown Store is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each week. More information is available by calling the store at 217-235-6888.