WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The owner of an Ashley Furniture Homestore franchise wants to talk to the unhappy businessman he’s displacing at a Wyoming Valley Mall property.
Franchise owner James Everett also wanted to clear up a few other things related to his pending move after the man he’s forcing out, Jim Ford of Ford Family Auctions, expressed his frustration earlier this week in a Times Leader story.
“We’ve been negotiating with them (Wyoming Valley Mall) since the week after the tornado,” said Everett. “We sorted through all our options and finalized a deal late Monday morning.”
Both sides agreed to a 10-year lease, after Everett tried to solidify a three-year lease initially.
With the finalized deal, Ford Family Auctions and employees at the current Wilkes-Barre Beauty Supply Shop had their leases terminated.
Aside from the aforementioned businesses, Ashley will occupy space that includes the former H.H. Gregg property as well as a vacant site.
Everett spoke about Ford’s complaints.
“As for the blueprints mentioned in the article, they were not drawn up overnight,” Everett said. “We got them from the mall archives, so we knew what had to be done to get us up and running.
“We also wanted to verify the space’s layout so we can get the permits from the township.”
Everett also mentioned that he has tried to get in contact with Ford so they can talk things over.
“I want to speak with him (Ford) face to face,” he said. “I want to make things right but I also run a family business.”
Everett continued: “People when they see Ashley Furniture HomeStore they think of the warehouse. I am a franchise owner. We are a family-owned business that happens to have a license to sell Ashley Furniture.”
Besides his location in Wilkes-Barre Township, Everett owns four other locations in Pennsylvania, including a store in Hazleton.
After the June tornado ripped through his Mundy Street site, Everett said he initially thought about moving to the vacant space left by Sears.
‘It was really expensive,” he said. “I never got a real number. However, I think I struck a deal in my new location.”
Barring any setbacks, Everett hopes to have his Ashley store open at its new spot by Oct. 1.
Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes