April 01, 2003 11:00 pm

"We wanted to buy a business in which we could work together," Tim Clark said.

He and his wife, Nina, are the new owners of the local Sears franchise at 10601 S. Walton Road in Island City.

They had worked with recreation dealers and manufacturers in the Eugene area. He had been been vice president of Marathon, a company that does conversions of buses into campers.

"We decided we wanted to be our own bosses in a business where the results would be a direct benefit to us," he said.

They are big into outdoor activities, which was an appeal to them.

"We wanted to move to Eastern Oregon. The outdoor opportunities and climate appealed to us. We hunt and fish and have an eight-wheel off-road vehicle," he said.

It will be a family affair in one other way, too.

"We have a 25-year-old daughter, Eva, and she will be moving here soon and will work in the store," Nina Clark said. There are two grandchildren.

The Clarks purchased the business from Glen and Heather Null and will lease the building from them. There is almost 5,000 square feet of space on the sales floor.

There will be some sprucing up of the interior, with a new paint scheme, they said, in keeping with plans at the corporate level of Sears.

"There'll be a more sunny look," Nina said.

They said they may add to the selection of items in the garden section, including more patio furniture.

Inventory is good now and they don't plan a lot of changes in the merchandise available to the public.

"We will continue the Sears continuity. If volume increases in a certain area, we will add more in those lines."

There are seven employees, and they will maintain that level unless business improves to the extend that they see the need to add more.

"If volume increases, we will add more," Tim said.

Hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. They could expand hours for the summer months, but that hasn't been determined yet, they said.

— Ray Linker