Posted 1/13/15 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
By February, Home of Economy hopes to open a new store in Watford City. The store will be located in the space currently occupied by Alco in Watford City’s South Park Plaza. Home of Economy has a reputation for being a leading seller of oil country work wear and equipment.
“We will be 90 percent work wear and boots,” said Scott Pearson, CEO of Home of Economy. “The best sellers of our products will be in the store and everything we carry will be available by special order. So, if you like something in one of our other stores, we can get that item shipped to the Watford City store. Each of our stores varies in the products sold depending on the market in each area. But we have the same price, with our Guaranteed Lowest Price policy, in every location.”
Home of Economy is known for offering top-selling brands like DeWalt, Honda Power Equipment, Under Armour and safety toe boots by Ariat, Muck, and Baffin. Home of Economy is also a top leader in the sale of flame-resistant Carhartt FR work wear.
A possession date for the new owners has not been set yet, but Jan. 15 is supposed to be the closing date, and everything is contingent upon the close-out company and the bankruptcy court finalizing everything with Alco, before Home of Economy can take possession and open its doors.
Pearson and his brother, Wade, who together are the president and CEO of Home of Economy, had already been working on a building site and a building plan at a different location in Watford City, before changing gears and acquiring the building currently housing Alco.
Due to the court-ordered liquidation of Alco, the new building site has allowed for Home of Economy to open their doors in February as opposed to later this year, as was their initial plan/location.
“We’ll need to replace the cashier stands, bring in some different shelving and specialized fixtures, and do some painting,” said Pearson. “We’ll be able to use most of the existing shelving and store features that are already in the store. But once all the renovations and staging is done, we’ll be ready to open our doors. We’ll be in business, serving the town as soon as we can.”
Home of Economy has offered every current Alco employee a position with the new store and a nice benefit package for full-time employees.
“We’re trying to hire people for full-time positions so they can have benefits,” said Pearson. “We’re trying to be good to the people there and we know we need full-time employees. Most of the Alco employees have accepted the new positions.”
The staff will be trained at the Williston’s Home of Economy store, and according to Pearson, it shouldn’t take too many days to get the employees trained. Training will take place while the new location in Watford City is updated and stocked with merchandise.
Home of Economy was founded by Pearson’s grandparents in 1939. In just the past couple of years, the company has doubled its retail space. Opening its seventh store in Watford City only continues its recent growth spurt.
In 2014, Home of Economy expanded and renovated its store in Williston, from 30,000 square feet, to almost 60,000 square feet.
“Prior to the current expansion,” said Pearson, “our store in Williston was maybe our third largest store. But because of the oil boom in the Bakken, Williston is now our highest-volume store and the reason for which we chose to expand.”
Home of Economy’s largest retail store is located in Jamestown with approximately 84,000 square feet of retail space. Watford City’s Home of Economy store will be slightly smaller than the other six stores, but promises to carry everything customers would expect to find at the company’s other locations.
“It’s exciting to be opening a store in Watford City,” said Pearson. “We want the community to know that we’re excited to be coming and that we will have the guaranteed lowest price in every location. Just because this store is located in the Bakken doesn’t mean prices will be higher. And we’d love for people to come and apply - we still have positions to fill.”
Even with the falling oil prices, Home of Economy is confident in the success of their store in Watford City.
“We’re taking a longer-term view,” said Pearson. “We think the oil fall is short-term. And we’re in Watford City for the long haul. Even if the oil market does decline in the future, we would change our product mix because we plan on staying for a long time. We’re very committed to this project.”