New Owners Bring New Ideas To Sears Retail Dealer Store


Bruce and Cherie Griffin say they're a perfect match for their new business.

Like Lewis and Clark. Tracy and Hepburn. Or, more fittingly, Sears and Roebuck.

This month, the Griffins became the new owners of Payson's Sears retail dealer store on South Beeline Highway. Although they're new to the world of washers, dryers, refrigerators, power tools and lawn mowers, they are not at all new to their business motto: outstanding customer service and satisfaction guaranteed.

"Local customers here deserve the best service and selection, and that's what we plan on giving them," Bruce says. "We look forward to serving the community with Sears."

The Griffins say they are pleased with the former management and organization of the store, and they don't expect to make any major changes. Customers can still expect to find the Kenmore and Craftsman brand names, as well as Maytag, General Electric, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Magnavox, Sony, RCA and many more. The store also will continue to offer service on every appliance it sells.

Nothing will change, Bruce says, except a few things that will make shopping at Sears a little more convenient for the customer -- such as the Monday-through-Saturday store hours. Right now, they are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Within the next couple of weeks, the closing time will be moved back to 6 p.m., to give folks a little more post-work shopping time. The store will remain open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"New owners do tend to look at things differently, and since we have extensive backgrounds in retail and distribution, we see a lot of areas that we think we can make more efficient to allow a little better service," Bruce says.

"Another thing we want to do is to put more sales people on the floor during peak hours, so everyone can get individual attention. We're also going to bring in some higher-end ranges and things that, as Payson grows, people will be looking for."

Bruce also hopes to become the appliance dealer for Rim country's building and development community, "so we can do their appliance work instead of them having to go to the Valley."

Sears' Payson store is one of more than 700 authorized retail dealer stores to open since 1993, and the company plans to up that number to 1,000 by the end of this year. The company boasts annual revenues of more than $41 billion.

"Sears has been around for so long that if you simply follow their system, and mix your own knowledge and background into it, it's a fairly guaranteed formula," Bruce says.

"The main thing that appealed to us is that, No. 1, you've got one of the top retailers in the United States that has a proven way of doing things. It's retail, but it's kind of a hybrid; you don't have the mall hours of nine to nine, seven days a week. Here, you can almost have a family life and still be in the retail business.

"Right now, it owns us. But give us a month or two. We'll turn that around."

For the past 25 years, the Griffins have been self-employed -- first as owners of a Michigan Kwik-Print for 10 years, and then as wholesale distributors in Scottsdale since 1985. They've been weekend residents of Payson for the past three years.

"And we never wanted to leave after the weekend was over," Bruce says. "We saw this store as our opportunity to come here permanently.

"Our job here is nothing more than selling different products than we've sold for the past 25 years," Bruce says. "We're just stepping into a new name. How we treat customers and how we do business -- that isn't going to change."

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