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Greg Regelbrugge

Greg Regelbrugge, the new chief executive officer of Vann’s, talks last year at the Missoula store about the acquisition of Vann’s and his vision for its future. Regelbrugge said the main goal is to return Vann’s to its core business of selling high-end appliances to Montana customers with a knowledgeable sales staff.

MISSOULA — The liquidation of the inventory at Vann’s in Missoula is in full swing, as store employees prepare the company to vacate its longtime home on Brooks Street.

The electronics and appliance store will close May 30 and its parent company, Vann’s Acquisition LLC, will move its headquarters to Bozeman.

The store is open Wednesday through Saturday and has a “couple million dollars in merchandise” to sell, Chief Executive Officer Greg Regelbrugge said Tuesday.

The Vann’s store in Hamilton was closed in mid-April. Employees from that location are now helping with the final sales at the Missoula store, Regelbrugge said.

“In Hamilton, we sold off almost 100 percent of open-box display product so we didn’t have to repack and move it. We were pleased with that,” he said.

Inventory that isn’t sold will be shipped to one of several distribution centers around the country that provide products for sales made through Vanns.com, Regelbrugge said.

A lease dispute with company founder and building owner Pete Vann forced Vann’s to pull out of the Missoula and Hamilton markets, Regelbrugge said when he announced the closures in April.

Vann owns the buildings occupied by the Missoula, Hamilton and Kalispell Vann’s stores. Vann’s has long leased the buildings from Vann. The current leases for the three buildings expire June 30.

Regelbrugge is still negotiating with several landlords to try to secure a new space for the Kalispell location. A new space must be found for that store to remain open.

The Missoula closure will cost 11 employees their jobs. Four jobs were lost with the closure in Hamilton. Some employees could get the option to transfer to another store, but no decisions have been made as to who may move, Regelbrugge said.

“A couple of employees expressed interest in moving. A lot of it depends on if they want to move to another city,” he said.

Vann’s specialty electronics venture, the ON Store, employs five people and will remain open in Missoula, Regelbrugge said.

Regelbrugge intends to duplicate the ON Store’s format inside a chain of Khaledi Group HK Global duty-free electronics outlets along the U.S.-Mexican border in Texas and California.

“We’re negotiating with Apple now to put those stores in,” he said.

Regelbrugge is part-owner of Vann’s, which was sold in November during bankruptcy proceedings to Florida-based Khaledi Group. The Khaledi Group is a national conglomerate of 38 companies, including HK Global, the chain of duty-free electronics stores.

Vann’s headquarters are being moved to office space within the Bozeman store, which will also soon house an ON Store.

Most of the inventory from another Vann’s venture, the online outdoor gear store BigSkyCountry.com, has been sold and that company is for sale, Regelbrugge said.

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Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at jenna.cederberg@missoulian.com.

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