Michaels crafts closing location at The Highlands

TRIADELPHIA — The Michaels craft store at The Highlands will close in less than six weeks as the corporation has decided not to renew the store’s lease.

Store manager Dorothy Curry confirmed the store will close by Feb. 23 — or perhaps sooner, depending on sales. Traffic at the store seemed moderate on Monday afternoon.

All purchases at the store now are final.

A sign on the door outside Michaels informs customers that “we’re closing this location only,” and invites them to visit other Michaels locations. The next-closest Michaels stores are in Washington, Pa., and Robinson Township near Pittsburgh.

Michaels has more than 1,100 stores nationwide, and about another 50 in Canada.

There are 25 employees at the store, according to Curry, who referred all additional comment to Michaels’ corporate office in Irving, Texas. Calls to the office were not returned Monday, which was the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The departure of Michaels leaves a vacant storefront in the Power Center strip-mall section at The Highlands that will need to be addressed by the Ohio County Development Authority.

Ohio County Commissioner Randy Wharton, also president of the development authority, said the county had been in discussions with Michaels about their expiring 10-year lease agreement. The county learned about eight weeks ago the store would not be signing on to stay.

“We knew they weren’t going to renew,” Wharton said. “We just had some discussions. …. We didn’t have any negative feedback from them. It was a business decision, and you’ll have that. It’s kind of normal for a development of our size to have a retailer not renew their lease. They don’t always let us know why.”

He denied there was any discussion about a new lease with the county being too expensive.

He explained in most dealings with national retailers, the tenant initially provides the lease to be considered.

Commissioner Orphy Klempa echoed Wharton’s comments.

“It was nothing we did on our end,” he said. “The rent was not increased. The lease offered was not for more, I can say that.”

Klempa said most of the stores in the Power Center area are “doing well.”

“And once Menards is finished, that will make that end of the Power Center more enticing,” he said. “There will be more traffic flow.”

Wharton also doesn’t believe finding a new tenant for the space will be difficult.

“We’ve enjoyed having Michaels as a tenant while we did, and we wish them the best,” he said.

“We will work diligently to fill that spot. There has been a tremendous amount of interest. It won’t stay empty for very long.”