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Sequim JCPenney takes top spot


Sequim’s JCPenney employees received the Chairman’s Award for sales, customer service and improved profits in 2009. This is the highest award for any store in a region and Sequim won over 24 other stores in Washington and Alaska. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Sequim's JCPenney once again ranks in the upper tier of its company's retail class.

Store manager Paul Quinn accepted the Chairman's Award, the company's highest honor for individual excellent store performance, April 30, in Dallas, Texas.

Quinn said Sequim won over 24 other stores in Alaska and Washington, including large markets in Tacoma and Seattle, for the honor measured by sales per square foot, improved profitability and customer service scores.

'They've embraced us'

"Through customer loyalty and generosity, they've embraced us," Quinn said about store customers.

"(Business) continues to grow since I've been here."

Sequim last won the honor in 2003.

"The hard work and discipline of these outstanding associates were critical to the company's success in 2009, despite the difficult economic environment," said Myron E. Ullman III, chairman and CEO.

Business comes from across the peninsula from Forks to Chimacum to Port Townsend, Quinn said.

Catalog sales help the store's profits soar, too.

Out of 1,100 stores, Sequim was No. 90 for catalog sales in 2009, Quinn said.

He couldn't pinpoint one department that sold better.

"We're across the board," Quinn said.

"They are all doing fantastic."

Small store

Sequim JCPenney has 40 employees. It opened in 1995 after moving from Port Angeles into the former Safeway building at 651 W. Washington St.

Sequim is one of the smaller JCPenney stores in Washington at about 29,000 gross square feet. Silverdale has 162,000 gross square feet and the Tacoma Mall store has 228,800 gross square feet.

The small space doesn't stop the store from stocking new products, Quinn said.

"We just pack it in," he said.

Quinn said numerous private labels sell well like St. John's, Worthington and Stafford, which is the No. 1 private label (exclusive to one company) in America.

"Some people have grown up in our brands," Quinn said.

"We're the immediate (retail) need in our community."

Growth

Sequim's sales might lead to big changes for the local clothing store.

Quinn said customers need not worry about them closing because the JCPenney corporation is looking to grow the retail store in the area.

"Growth is what we're all about here," he said.

JCPenney as a whole might grow because the company ended 2009 with $3 billion in cash reserves and has played it safe with expansion.

It's grown slowly from 1,067 stores in 2007 to about 1,100 in 2010.

Quinn said no plans are set but expanding the current facility or building a new off-site store are possibilities.

Seasoned leadership

The store didn't win Sequim's only award, as Quinn won Store Manager of the Year for 2009 in the district.

He's won several monthly awards including Outstanding Sales Store Manager for November and December 2009 and January 2010.

Quinn became a store manager in 2003. He started with JCPenney as a high school student in June 1969.

He's a second-genera-tion employee, with his

father retiring after 43 years.

"Retail has always been a part of my life," he said.

Sequim JCPenney is open 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. It can be reached at 681-2833 or by visiting www.jcpenney.net.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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