PALMETTO -- A former appliance store building sitting empty at a highly visible spot along U.S. 301 since 2009 has been sold to an Ohio company that is planning to reopen it as a similar business.
U.S. Highway 301 LLC purchased the former DeSears Appliance & Electronics property at 1201 U.S. 301 N. in Palmetto from Armed Forces Bank of Kansas City for $1.05 million, according to Manatee County records. The purchase was registered on Dec. 16.
The 25,475-square-foot building was built on 2.75 acres in 2000. The property had been on the market since February 2011.
The selling agent for the property was William Blalock of Bradenton-based Wyman, Green & Blalock Real Estate. According to Blalock's office, the property will be used by its new owner for a business similar to the defunct appliance and furniture company that previously occupied the building.
The DeSears brand has a long local history. The family-owned chain of stores was founded in 1947 and eventually grew to 21 stores. In 1994, a group of local investors operating under the name Riverview Ventures Inc. purchased the company.
In 2008, Riverview Ventures sold four remaining DeSears stores to Denver-based Appliance World.
One of those local investors, John Rice, went on to open his own appliance business in 2010, Rice's Appliances on 14th Street West in Bradenton.
Rice said Appliance World -- which operated as DeSears in Florida -- didn't last long in the Bradenton-area market.
"They didn't really know what they were doing," he said Monday. "They filed for bankruptcy pretty quickly."
A current incarnation of DeSears still exists in Sarasota. That appliance, electronics and furniture store has no business links to the DeSears that closed in Palmetto, according to Charles Palco, one of two partners who opened the Sarasota DeSears two years ago.
Palco and business partner Dale Plass worked with the founding DeSears family to resurrect the appliance store brand.
Ownership of the 1201 U.S. 301 N. property also has a history. Bradenton builder Mike Carter developed the property in 2000 and remained its landlord through DeSears' bankruptcy. One of Carter's creditors, Denver-based Southern Commerce Bank, took ownership of the property in July 2011. Carter declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy the same year.
Armed Forces Bank took ownership of the property from Southern Commerce Bank in August 2011, according to county records.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.