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Spokane DirectBuy showroom shuts down; parent firm looks for franchisee

The Spokane showroom of DirectBuy, a nationwide, members-only shopping club, closed this week.
A spokeswoman at DirectBuy’s Indiana headquarters said the company is trying to find a new showroom for Spokane-area members but would not predict how soon that will be.
Company spokeswoman Sara Butler said DirectBuy is looking for another Spokane location to open a showroom. It’s also looking for another franchisee to run the business. The nearest DirectBuy showroom, for now, is in the Tri-Cities.
The previous Spokane franchisee was not identified in an email the company sent to its roughly 2,300 Spokane-area members.
DirectBuy has about 130 stores in North America, which sell discounts on furniture and household items. People join by paying between $3,000 and $6,000 for memberships that vary from two to three years, and then pay renewal fees when the terms expire.
Butler said DirectBuy could decide to open a corporate-run store in Spokane if the company finds a new building but not a new franchisee. “We think the Spokane market is a very good one,” she said.
The Spokane franchise opened in December 2003 and operated in a showroom at 10102 E. Knox in Spokane Valley.
As the economy tanked the number of DirectBuy showrooms began to close. News stories around the country have cited at least five in the past several months. A number of lawsuits have also been filed by former franchisees saying the DirectBuy parent company took advantage of the economic downturn and added to the debt those franchisees ended up owing, according to court documents.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.