Hendrick service center at Sears will be “one stop”


Sears’ former location in the Abilene Mall is enjoying new life as part of Hendrick Health, in part thanks to a $ 1.54 million incentive program from the Abilene Development Company recently approved by the Abilene City Council.

The former anchor point of retail will remain somewhat of an anchor for a variety of Hendrick services, including warehousing, human resources, and professional training and development.

He was picked, Hendrick officials said in an interview with The Reporter-News, because of the warehousing capabilities already present due to his retail bones. And because its 153,000 square foot space on two floors offers plenty of room for all the functions it will eventually contain.

A customer leaves Sears on March 7, 2019 at the Mall of Abilene.

Hendrick said he bought the site in May, while board approval on July 8, codenamed DCOA “Project Double T,” provided an economic incentive of $ 1.54 million to the project.

A key part of the structure will be a centralized warehouse for the Hendrick Health campuses in North and South Abilene, as well as some items for Brownwood’s health system facilities.

The site will also house a central planning office, a call center for doctors’ offices, medical records, human resources, the health system education department and its Hendrick Medical Supply business, said Susan Wade. , vice-president at Hendrick.

There will also be an element of information technology in the building, she said.

The health system acquired the Abilene Regional Medical Center in 2020 and now operates hospitals in North and South Abilene.

“What (this project) does is bring the two Abilene campuses together in one place for these central functions,” Wade said.

Brown paper covering the doors and windows let some light into the old Sears store in the mall.

Sears closed its two-story Abilene story in March 2019, ending a local presence that began downtown in 1928.

In a previous statement, Hendrick said renovations to the old store were due to begin in October, with an opening slated for November 2022.

Forge again

The transformation of what was once a retail store into a supply and service center will require major renovations, Wade said.

“But it has the frame we need,” she said of the location. “A lot of what we do is more aesthetic improvements and more workstations. But it has the perfect setup for the warehouse because of the car repair and maintenance work that has been done there before.

Susan wade

Several sites were considered, Wade said.

“But it was really the one that best suited our needs,” she said.

Hendrick vice president Norm Archibald said the Sears site already had much of what Hendrick needed for the warehouse component.

“It also has four or five loading docks for the 18 wheels,” he said. “Our supplies arrive on 18 wheels all week, and we have significant supplies. So to have the loading docks, the warehouse space is a perfect situation for us.

Hendrick plans to invest $ 15.4 million in the first phase of the property’s renovations, which does not include human resources, education and conference facilities, Wade said.

When completed, the project represents an investment closer to $ 19 million, she said.

Abilene Development Company Logo

The board’s approval earlier this month allowed DCOA to strike a deal with Hendrick to expand its back office and warehouse facilities at the mall.

Misty Mayo, CEO of DCOA, told the meeting that retention and expansion are integral to the entity’s goals.

In documents provided by DCOA to the board, the entity said the project was chosen because it helps develop a key local industry – healthcare – and aligns with its mission of creating and sustaining ” primary jobs ”.

The project is expected to retain 317 employees while creating 74 additional jobs within the community of Abilene.

For every DCOA dollar invested, Hendrick will invest $ 28.66 over 10 years, Mayo said.

‘Services Center

A checkout area remains in place in the former Sears store in the Mall of Abilene, but the empty areas suggest the size of the facility, which is over 150,000 square feet.

The best way to describe the new location is like a “service center,” said Wade, a one-stop-shop for many of Hendrick’s vital functions that is expected to dramatically increase efficiency, she said.

“(It will be) a central location for anything related to bill payment or financial advice, helping to set up plans for patients who need help,” she said, along with the recovery of medical records.

Hendrick Medical Supply, which offers sustainable medical equipment including oxygen and other supplies, will be central to the framework, Wade said.

“A lot of this (equipment and supplies) is taken directly to patients’ homes, but we will have a retail presence,” said Wade.

Hendrick Medical Supply’s current location on North Eighth Street will close, she said.

The shelves probably used for shoes could come in handy when Hendrick Health opens its service center.

In May, Hendrick said his storefront would move to the north entrance to the service center.

With healthcare human resources located at the old Sears site, job applicants will apply there for positions in Abilene, she said.

“All the training, new hire orientation, nursing training, any kind of education and training that is done before going to work will be done at this one facility,” Wade said. “… There is this central location, as opposed to one campus or the other. “

Centralized business services will also help patients schedule tests, surgeries, and doctor’s offices.

“All the planning of hospital procedures and doctor visits will be handled (there),” she said, including making sure insurance requirements are in place and met and pre-registering patients. by phone and online.

“You don’t call individual offices, you call a number and thus you get faster service,” Wade said.

Towards the future

The escalator connecting the first and second floors of the former Sears store will not be in service, officials say, when it becomes a service center for Hendrick Health.

In a statement released after the board approved the deal, Brad Holland, CEO of Hendrick Health, said the ability to relocate administrative services currently housed in and around existing campuses would free up “valuable space. to extend clinical services to patients ”.

Archibald agreed, saying that with the current connectivity options, “you can be anywhere in the world and do insurance, billing and that sort of thing.”

Creating a particular space for these services means that “we think the main campus will be more focused on clinical care,” he said.

“It is a real efficiency that this project will bring”, he declared.

Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for Abilene Reporter-News. If you value local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.

A price control station remains in an otherwise empty first floor area of ​​the former Sears store in the Mall of Abilene.

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