Staples plans store

Office supply chain interested in Steamboat

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— Staples, with more than 1,500 office supply stores and $16.1 billion in annual sales, is preparing to enter the Steamboat Springs market.

Documents on file with the city of Steamboat Springs Planning Department confirm the retailer's interest in Steamboat. The owners of a commercial building in Steamboat Crossings, Loui Antonucci and Joe Pete LoRusso, are seeking a permit to make minor modifications to the building to accommodate Staples.

Antonucci serves on the City Council. He said he was not free to discuss the specifics of a new tenant for the building.

The building housed Mountain Homefitters furniture store until this spring. The site is at the corner of Mid Valley Drive and Pine Grove Road, bordering U.S. Highway 40 on the east.

The new Staples would be across an internal shopping center road from PostNet owned by Kathy and Terry Stokes. Kathy Stokes is the president of the board of directors of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

"The impact, I'm sure, will be huge," Stokes said. "We'll adapt because it's the only option we have."

The Stokes' store does not rely heavily on the sale of office supplies. Instead, it offers custom packing and shipping, as well as fast printing and binding services.

"If it didn't have a shipping and print center, we would be complementary businesses," Stokes said.

Floor plans on file with the city indicate that, though the building is substantially smaller than the typical Staples store, it will have a copy and print center near the front of the store. Some Staples stores contain UPS shipping stations.

Staples opened its first store in Brighton, Mass., in 1986. The company is based in Framingham, Mass. The typical store measures 20,000 square feet. Antonucci's building measures 13,328 square feet.

Xerox announced Friday it had reached a multi-million deal to sell 1,200 of its newest color copiers to Staples.

Shares of Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) closed at $24.35 on Friday. The company reported in May that its first quarter sales ended April 29 were up $4.2 billion during the same quarter in 2005.

The Stokeses are franchisees with PostNet and have gained recognition for having the highest level of single-store annual sales in the chain. PostNet has more than 1,000 franchise stores.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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