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030118 Lompoc Staples

A sign at the entrance of the Staples store in Lompoc on Thursday informs customers about the store's impending closure, which is scheduled for March 16.

Lompoc is set to lose another big-box retailer this month with the impending closure of the Staples store on North H Street.

Staples, located in the Lompoc Shopping Center alongside other major retailers like Harbor Freight Tools, Petco, Marshalls and Vons, is scheduled to close its doors for good on March 16. The store's management began placing signage around the store this week to notify customers of the upcoming closure.

Meghan McCarrick, a public relations manager for Staples, said Thursday that the closure was due to the changing retail landscape, particularly the rise of e-commerce.

“We continually evaluate our store performance to ensure we’re operating the business in the best way,” she said. “As customers shift online, we are taking aggressive action to right-size our retail footprint. We are committed to providing great service and every product businesses need, whether it’s in-store, online or through mobile.”

Staples, which is headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, operates about 1,500 stores across the U.S. and Canada. The chain primarily sells office supplies, including tech hardware and office furniture. It was acquired just last year from Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, for $6.9 billion.

A manager at the Lompoc branch said Thursday that the store has 12 employees. Both McCarrick and that local manager, however, declined to say if any of the Lompoc employees were offered opportunities to transfer to other locations.

After March 16, the Staples stores nearest Lompoc will be the branches in Goleta, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

The Lompoc Shopping Center, located on North H Street between College and Pine avenues, previously lost a major retailer when Pier 1 Imports closed its doors in February 2016. That storefront didn’t remain empty for long, however, as Harbor Freight moved into the space that same year.

Teresa Gallavan, Lompoc's interim city manager and economic development director, said Thursday that it was "disappointing" to see Staples leave the Lompoc market. Still, she said the city has been in contact with Brixmor Property Group, which manages the Lompoc Shopping Center, and she is hopeful the space won't remain empty for long.

"Brixmor has been working on filling this space with new tenants," Gallavan said. "When Pier 1 left, Brixmor was quick to fill the space with Harbor Freight Tools. We hope they can share news of new tenants soon."

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.