Local Sears has new owner

The Sears store, which has been located in Vandalia Commons for the past five years, is under new ownership.
Randy Ruholl, who opened the store in late 2007, has sold it to Bill and Debbie Smith of Centralia, effective March 3. No strangers to the Sears operation, the Smiths have owned the Sears store in Centralia for the past eight years.
“We’re very excited about being in Vandalia,” said Debbie Smith. “We’ve always had an interest in Vandalia because of its rich history. And when we had an opportunity to expand our business interests by buying the Sears store, we saw it as a great opportunity.”
She said that only minor changes to the store are planned, and that most of the staff will be staying on.
One thing that has changed is the hours. The store is now open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Another change will be an increased emphasis on mattress sets.
 Ruholl, who operates a second Sears store in Effingham, will now concentrate his attention on that operation.
“We have had a very good response from the Vandalia community over the past five years,” Ruholl said. “We had great employees and we made a lot of friends there.
“When we started, we had a five-year contract with Sears and a five-year lease on the property. Both of them were up, and I decided to sell rather than sign up for another five years.
“The Smiths are experienced Sears owners, and they are very community-oriented people,” Ruholl said. “It should be a seamless change.”
The store is located at 313 N. Mattes Ave. in the Vandalia Commons shopping center. The telephone number is 283-9550.
Debbie Smith said that they are planning a "grand re-opening" later this spring.
"We're looking forward to meeting the people of Vandalia," she said.

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