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MATTOON --The Sears Hometown Store in Mattoon will not be affected by Sears Holdings Corp. filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Store owner Tanner Kroening said Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, Inc. became a separate company from Sears Holdings Corp. in 2012. He said the Hometown Stores are independently operated by franchise owners under the corporate structure of Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, Inc.

"We are actually not a part of the bankruptcy filing," Kroening said. "We are separate and we are going strong."

Kroening said he has been fielding questions from concerned customers about the Sears Holdings Corp. bankruptcy. Kroening said he has assured them that the Sears Hometown Store will continue to operate in Mattoon. He encourages those with further questions to call the store at 217-235-6888.

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His parents, Terry and Jan Kroening, opened this Sears Hometown Store in October 2015 in a newly renovated building at 1601 Broadway Ave. downtown. Kroening served as the store manager and then became the store owner in early 2017. He also is a co-owner of the new Culture Frozen Yogurt shop downtown.

A Sears Hometown Store is also in operation at 1306 Thelma Keller Ave. in Effingham.

Kroening said Sears Hometown Stores will continues to honor warranties and protection agreements for appliances and other products purchased from Sears Holdings Corp. For example, he said his store is continuing to maintain and repair products purchased many years ago at the former Sears store at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.

The Sears store at the east end of the Cross County Mall closed in April 2014. The mall's new owner, the Mattoon-based Rural King company, has reported that it plans to move its Mattoon store into the former Sears space in mid-January.

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Contact Rob Stroud at 217-238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @RobStroud

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