March 15, 2013 in Business

Electronics retailer Huppin’s consolidating to north Spokane store

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Huppin’s TV, Audio, Cameras and More has decided to close the downtown Spokane store after more than a century on West Main Avenue.
(Full-size photo)

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Huppin’s TV, Audio, Cameras and More, one of Spokane’s oldest and best-known retail businesses, will close its downtown store and consolidate its retail operations in the company’s north Spokane location.

The family-owned business has had a downtown store for 104 years, but it has been in its current building, at 421 W. Main Ave., since 1953.

Huppin’s expanded to the north Spokane store, at 8016 N. Division, in 2010.

Company President Murray Huppin said the electronics retailer will also expand Huppins.com and its OneCall online retail site.

No date has been set for closing the store; the Huppin family will meet later to discuss plans, Huppin said. But a sale will begin March 22, and it’s likely the doors will close by mid-April.

The downtown store has 15 employees. Huppin said the goal is to retain as many as possible, but he acknowledged that some layoffs will occur. “That’s the hardest part of this,” Huppin noted.

As one step to save jobs, he plans to add hours at the North Side store, Huppin said.

The decision to close one store was largely driven by customer shopping preferences and trends. The north Spokane store is seeing more business and continues to grow, he said.

“We designed that store from the ground up,” Huppin said. The Division Street store is larger, more customer-friendly and has abundant, free parking.

Huppin said he has fond memories of working downtown. “I worked there with my grandfather going back 40 years ago,” he said.

But the move to one store was a logical decision, he said. “This makes the most sense for the future of our company. It gives us the brightest future.”

Spokane’s first Huppin’s store in downtown opened as a tailor shop in 1908 in a different location on West Main.

That business evolved into a dry goods retail store and pawn brokerage. In the 1950s Huppin’s began selling electronic products, switching its sole focus to selling cameras, TVs and audio in the 1970s.

It launched its online OneCall store in 1994.

“The irony is, we were among the first to open an online electronics store, but our own Huppins.com doesn’t even show up in Google if you search for something we sell,” Huppin said.

Over the next few weeks the company will unveil an improved Huppins.com site that will focus on helping area customers find products and buy items online to pick up at the store.

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