The newest Lowe’s store is preparing to open on Jan. 13, with more than 116,000 square feet of retail space.

The store, located at the intersection of Union and Powers boulevards, is the second Lowe’s to open in Colorado Springs. Lowe’s is one of the anchors at the First and Main Center on Powers.

“We’re opening an average of one new store every three days,” said Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb. “We’re currently in the fastest expansion in Lowe’s 60-year history.”

Lowe’s will open another El Paso County store in Fountain next year. Construction will begin soon at a planned shopping center on Nevada Road, near Interstate 25.

The new store represents an average investment of $18.5 million for Lowe’s corporation, Cobb said. The retail opening also provided a number of new jobs for El Paso County residents.

“We’ve hired 175 people for the new store,” Cobb said. “The majority of those are full-time jobs.”

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Lowe’s opened 140 stores nationwide in 2004. In 2005, the store opened 150. The corporation plans to open 150 stores in 2006.

PostalAnnex+ sells new Colorado Springs franchise

Michael Turner, retired U.S. Army Ranger, is forging ahead as a business owner. The owner of PostalAnnex+, a franchise in Monument, plans to open a second store in Colorado Springs.

Turner opened the first store in Monument Marketplace as part of the VetFran, a program that provides incentives to veterans who want to open their own business. The second store is also part of that program.

The first store opened in June, but no opening date has been set for the second store, said Kim Moore, a spokeswoman for PostalAnnex+.

“It’s still very early,” she said. “They have purchased another franchise and announced plans. No leases have been signed yet.”

Turner said the new store would be off Interquest Parkway, part of a new retail development scheduled to break ground in 2006.

“We won’t be open until January 2007, at the earliest,” he said. “But we’re excited to have this opportunity.”

PostalAnnex+ is one of 160 companies nationwide that participate in the VetFran program, a program designed to offer discounts and incentives to veterans who want to own their own franchise.

PostalAnnex+ is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., and is the third largest postal service company based in the United States. The company operates more than 270 franchises, which provide office and postal support around the world.

“I’m looking forward to servicing the postal and business needs of Colorado Springs,” Turner said in a news release announcing the new business. “PostalAnnex+ is unique in its commitment to convenience and service, as well as saving its customers time and money.”

Eddie Bauer closes Citadel location

With two stores operating in Colorado Springs, the Eddie Bauer Corp. has opted to close the one in The Citadel Mall on Jan. 25. The store is currently holding liquidation sales.

While the company would not provide specific reasons to close the store, spokeswoman Lisa Erickson said the two stores were too close together.

“The store at Briargate will remain open,” she said. “This is just one of the location issues; we opened the store just down the road and are closing this one.”

Erickson said the decision to close the mall store was part of an annual corporate review.

“We looked at the portfolio and judged where the best location was for business,” she said. “We look at the lease options, store performance and location. The Citadel store was marked for closure based on those three performance factors.”

Eddie Bauer emerged from the Spiegel Inc. Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, as a fully independent company, Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc., for the first time in 35 years. Spiegel filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

Congress considers closing online loophole

Congress is considering legislation that would require online, mail-order and remote merchants to pay sales tax, closing a loophole that bricks-and-mortar retailers claim is unfair.

Known as the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act, the bill was introduced early in December by Republican Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming. The measure allows states to require that out-of-state “remote seller” merchants collect sales tax on all merchandise sold to state residents. Retailers with less than $5 million in annual gross remote sales would be exempt.

Under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, remote sellers are only required to collect sales tax from customers in states where they have a physical presence, such as a store, office or distribution center. With more than 7,600 state and local jurisdictions collecting sales tax, many with different rates, different lists of taxable items and different definitions, the court held that out-of-state merchants could not be expected to know what to collect.

Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia already collect sales taxes as part of a voluntary measure approved in 2002 which simplifies many aspects of sales tax law and creates a mechanism for collection and distribution.

The federal legislation would make it mandatory in all 50 states.

Amy Gillentine covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.