The office supplies retail trade is about to shrink in Gainesville.
The longstanding Office Depot at 1500 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville is closing May 16, said Julianne Embry, spokeswoman for the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company.
Local store officials deferred comment to Embry, who said in an email last week, “One of the critical priorities for Office Depot Inc. continues to be rationalizing our store footprint in North America.”
“The overlapping retail footprint created by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax last year provides us a unique opportunity to consolidate and optimize our store portfolio, while maintaining the retail presence needed to serve our customers.”
Last year, Office Depot announced it would close some 400 stores in the U.S. over the next several years.
It closed approximately 165 locations last year and plans to close at least 100 this year, Embry said.
She wouldn’t say how many employees at the 26,000-square-foot Gainesville store are affected by the closing.
However, “we will do everything we can to help them by providing eligible associates with a severance package and other company-subsidized benefits.
“Also, where possible, we are working with our associates to identify open opportunities in our neighboring stores or in other areas within the company,” Embry said.
Hall County has OfficeMax locations at 836 Dawsonville Highway, Gainesville, and 5871 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch. As far as OfficeMax store names, “at this time, nothing is changing,” Embry said.
In February, Staples announced it was acquiring the newly formed Office Depot/OfficeMax for $6.3 billion. That chain has stores in Buford and Cumming.
The acquisition is currently in review with the Federal Trade Commission.
Embry didn’t know the age of the Gainesville store, which, like others in the Office Depot chain, was known for its annual teacher appreciation events featuring complimentary breakfasts and prize giveaways before the start of the school year.
Office Depot is a key anchor in the Towne Center shopping plaza off Browns Bridge and Pearl Nix Parkway.
“Anchor tenants do play an important part in a shopping center and that one has got a lot of visibility and good access, so I think it’s a very marketable property,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
He said the consolidation of office product retailers is a recent business trend, as “people are buying a lot of office supplies online.”
“There’s just not as much foot traffic in those stores (as there once was),” Evans said.