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Updated 08/15/11 – 5:17 p.m.
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (CBS) – Two Chicago suburbs are suffering a major economic blow, as the Lowe’s home improvement chain closes stores.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, calls to the Lowe’s stores in Schaumburg and Elgin result in a recorded message: “We’re sorry but this location is permanently closed.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
The move has put nearly 200 workers in Schaumburg and Elgin out of a job and some of them first found out about it on Monday when they showed up for work.
The nation’s second largest home improvement store chain – behind Home Depot – is shutting down seven stores nationwide as it struggles against the ongoing troubles in the housing industry.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the letters were already gone at the Lowe’s in Schaumburg on Monday, as security guards checked in the center’s 110 former employees to learn about two-month health and severance packages.
Mike DeBord, who’s worked there for three years, was trying to stay positive.
“I am not 100 percent sure what I am going to do yet,” he said. “But I intend on being happy with whatever situation I’ve decided to put myself in.”
Other employees, nervous about speaking on camera, said many of them were jittery after learning of the closings.
“A buddy of mine, he has two little ones and, you know, he is in frantic mode right now, what is he going to do?” one former employee said.
In a tough economy for home construction and remodeling both the Elgin and Schaumburg stores were underperforming.
A Lowes spokesperson said “there is simply not enough volume in today’s market to have the number of stores we have in the immediate area.”
The closure also impacts local suppliers, who sold their goods through Lowes. Many were on hand to remove their displays. Mid-American Growers was loading up trucks to transfer its greenery to the chain’s other locations. Lowes is one of Mid-American’s biggest clients.
Schaumburg remians one of the state’s stronger retail centers, but village officials were working the phones on Monday trying to find another business to take over the space Lowe’s once occupied.
“This econmic depression we’re going through and not out of yet has had an impact on us,” Schaumburg Village President Al Larson said.
In these days of a weak economy, the closure is anything but a consumer confidence builder.
The closings come on the same day that Lowe’s is reporting that second quarter earnings fell short of expectations and predicting that third quarter sales will also be flat.
The two stores employed about a hundred workers each. For Schaumburg, this is the second big chain store it’s losing. Borders announced recently it was liquidating all of its book stores nationwide.