Sears returned to Missoula with a smaller presence Thursday, opening a Hometown Store within Abbey Carpet and Floor after closing its larger Southgate Mall location in June.

The Missoula location at 407 S. Catlin St. is the 29th Sears Hometown Store to open this year and among 1,172 Hometown and Outlet stores across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico and Bermuda, according to a release from the company.

“We’re thrilled to introduce existing customers to our new addition,” said Mark Rheinschmidt, owner of the new Missoula store. “After recognizing a need within the Missoula community for an appliance outlet, we knew that opening the Sears Hometown Store within our business would give us the ability to offer a wide selection of name-brand home appliances at the lowest possible price.”

Hometown Stores offer a similar selection of products and services as Sears' larger retail locations, but are owned and operated locally, according to the release.

The Missoula store is supported by the Sears retail network, which includes all inventory, advertising, point-of-sale computer systems, delivery, installation, support and training.

The store is open daily and can be reached at 541-4488. For more information, visit searshometownstores.com.

Southgate Mall purchased Sears' former location earlier this year and has plans to redevelop the property as part of a larger $70 million project.

The mall has plans to create a more pedestrian feel by turning outward with urban-style projects that face the street, and will redevelop the Sears property to fit that style.

A movie theater is also expected to undergo construction next to the old Sears store, and negotiations are underway for an expansion of Mary Avenue, which would run alongside the project.

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