It was widely reported back in February that Staples, Inc. bought Office Depot for $6.5 billion dollars. But according to Debra Reynolds, General Manager at the Owensboro Staples office supply store (528 Southtown Blvd), the acquisition has not yet been approved by the Federal Trade Commission. “When it happens, each store will be looked at individually.”
This is all playing out in a very interesting way here in Owensboro. Our Staples store is closing this Saturday, whereas Office Depot, less than a mile away, is doing just fine, according to the store manager on duty Wednesday.
The bigger story is that our Staples is not the only one shutting down. Staples, Inc. will be closing 250 stores nationwide this year.
Which begs the question: Why would Staples close 250 stores in the middle of acquiring their biggest competitor?
Reynolds could not disclose an exact reason for the closing, and was visibly saddened when talking about it. “I see it. I understand it. But it’s still sad to see,” she said. “Staples has been such a staple, no pun intended, in our community for all these years.”
Just short of 19 years in fact, a milestone the store would have achieved in October.
Still bewildered, Owensboro Living called the corporate office, but our message has not yet been returned, although the operator who forwarded our message on to public relations did say something about a “large footprint” and “general operating costs.”
On a brighter note, the way Staples handled the closing “does make it a little easier to take,” Reynolds said. Employees got an eight-week notice.
Debra proudly said she has an incredible team of employees. “Not one person stopped showing up to work. That’s a credit to them, and to this company.” For their dedication, those who stick around to the end will receive a severance package.
Reynolds and her assistant manager are both being transferred to the Evansville location. “I begged my employees to come over with me because I think a lot of them. But it’s a long drive,” she said.
One employee who has worked at the store for 18 years is retiring early. Another employee who has worked there for 14 years is taking the rest of the year off and exploring options. The rest are moving on to other things.
For now, Reynolds and her team are watching the inventory dwindle. They’re no longer filling orders in the print shop. There will be no more restocking. The store officially closes at noon on Saturday. Then a team from corporate will come and and help finish packing up the store next week.
After that, “loyal customers can find me in Evansville,” Reynolds said, “and I’ll take care of them.”
I’m still going to use my “that was easy” button, though. They can’t take that away. Right?