http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/01/30/alamo-yardbirds-to-close-doors


Danville Express

Newsfront - January 30, 2009

Alamo Yardbirds to close doors

Store shut down as part of Home Depot restructuring

by Geoff Gillette

Home Depot is planning to close its Yardbirds store in Alamo as part of a large scale restructuring that will close down the company's Expo Design Center stores and other Yardbirds, officials said Monday.

A liquidation firm is being brought in to handle the process of selling off the remaining merchandise at the stores, to handle the workforce reductions as more of the product is gone, and eventually to decide when to close up shop for good.

Area residents were upset to hear of the decision.

"I love this store," said Elaine Bass, a 55 year resident of Alamo, "I'm really disappointed that they're closing it because then there isn't another nursery in the area."

Alamo residents in 2006 went through the trauma of the closing of their beloved Yardbirds when it was purchased by Home Depot but store management worked with the residents to reopen the home improvement store in May 2007.

Now the store will be closing along with four other Yardbirds, 34 Expo Design Centers, two Design Center stores and a bath remodeling business known as HD bath, with seven locations.

Another resident, Sherman Pulcher agreed he hated to see Yardbirds go.

"I missed it greatly when Yardbirds moved out and now Home Depot's moving out," he said.

Pulcher, who is in the middle of a home improvement project, was frustrated at the thought of having to travel further to pick up that one item he needs to complete his project. "This closing is going to put me back to driving to Crow Canyon," he stated.

The closures will affect some 5,000 associates and 2,000 administrative and support level employees, said Home Depot Chairman and CEO Frank Blake. He said he regretted having to close down the stores, but, "At the same time it is a necessary decision that will strengthen our core Home Depot business."

Blake blamed the economic downturn for the actions, but said he was pleased that its economic position will still be strong enough to provide severance and bonuses to impacted employees.

Home Depot spokeswoman Sarah Molinari said they are expecting the closures to take about two months and that associates who are not relocated to another store will receive an "enhanced" severance package.

"The associate will receive 60 days of pay and health coverage," she said.

She added that employees currently enrolled in the company's health insurance program will receive a lump sum payment that would allow them to maintain their insurance through COBRA for up to nine months.

She said they are recommending that associates being affected should contact the other stores to see if there are openings.

"They already know our products, they already know our businesses, it would be a natural transition," she explained.

Other Yardbirds closing are located in Concord, Petaluma, San Pablo and San Rafael. None of the company's "Big Box" Home Depot stores will be closed in the restructuring.

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