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Initially thought safe from closure, Willmar will now lose its Sears store

Signs went up this week informing shoppers of a closing down sale.

Sears' announcement in October that it would be closing a further 142 unprofitable stores – including 2 in the Twin Cities – didn't impact its network of Sears Hometown Stores.

That's because these stores are independently owned, albeit they're branded with the Sears name and have access to the national brands that are sold at regular Sears department stores.

There are more than a dozen of these Hometown Stores still in Minnesota, located in cities outside of the Twin Cities metro.

But now there's about to be one fewer.

Signs for a closing down sale have gone up at the Hometown Store location at the Kandi Mall in Willmar, with the store's liquidation confirmed on the Sears website.

The store's owner, Joel Garza, told the West Central Tribune as recently as October that his store would remain open, but now he's not available for comment.

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It's another loss for the Kandi Mall, which the Tribune notes has lost a number of tenants in recent years, not least of them Herbergers.

In the latest round of closures six weeks ago, Sears confirmed that its main stores on Rice Street in St. Paul and the Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka would be closing, leaving its location at the Mall of America the only full-size Sears left in the state.

Earlier this year, Sears also closed full-size stores in Duluth and Brooklyn Center.

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