By Kevin Williams
It was sad. I think that is was surprised me the most. It's end of an era.
My daughter approached one of the sales clerks as we headed into Sears to look for any bottom-feeder deals.
"Why are you closing?" Aster asked.
"Because some idiot in Chicago decided that we weren't making enough money," the grizzled sales floor veteran growled, still obviously not at peace with the decision.
"Ohhhh," Aster said.
Long after the rest of my local mall became an empty, hollow shell, the Sears had managed to endure. There would be a brisk business in people buying Craftsman and Kenmore items and it was just a place you knew you could always go for a dependable appliance. Even with the big box store, Lowe's a block or two away, bludgeoning it on a daily basis, there was still a nostalgic comfort to Sears. I had come to this Sears since I was a kid, when it was a buzzing, busy hive of consumers searching for anything from wrenches to dishwashers. As Aster held my hand and Bea squirmed in my arms I thought back to the countless Christmas gifts I had probably bought for relatives here over the years. An electric screwdriver for Dad. A shirt for Uncle Larry. An electric can-opener for my brother.
I told Aster that the store was closing.
"Well, that's okay, we can always come back," Aster said.
"No, it's closing for good," I said.
"We can't go back," Aster asked.
"No, it will be closed forever," I said.
"Like it's dying?" Aster asked.
I was trying not to make too big of a production of the closing of a store, so I reminded her of how we've talked about "store chains" before and that we'll be able to go to another Sears sometime, just not this one and it seemed to satisfy her. What I didn't voice to her is that I have my doubts that this store chain will be around all that much longer, if it survives 5 more years it'll be a retail miracle.
Hi Kevin It is always hard to see stores close down that you go to so often. Seems like more and more of the stores are closing. Now they want people to shop online. But I like to see what I am buying in person. Helen
I agree Helen, nothing beats in person buying!
I also have many memories of Sears. Remember smelling the almonds roasting and the popcorn popping?
Back in the day, the Kenmore name and Craftsman Tool name meant quality. The only place to buy a new car battery was Sears with it's lifetime warranty. Needed a new appliance? Well of course you went to Sears. However, the quality of all these products changed so drastically over the years that Sears just wasn't the place to go anymore. There were no more trying to bargain down the prices. The warranties all changed. Everything was made with cheaper parts. With all the competition around, it just made sense to shop where you were appreciated and your salespeople really cared and you could get a good deal. Sears lost that personal touch a long time ago.
I think in Sear's case, they were their own worst enemy. They just gave up and this is the result, all the store closures. Sad, but true.
Pam, sad, but your words ring true, I think you capsulized exactly what went wrong at Sears.
I remember as a little kid getting the Sears Catalog in the mail - everything in the house was Sears brand except the TV, which was Magnavox. Sad.
It is sad. We have spent many many hours shopping in that store when we still lived in Trenton. We loved Christmas shopping in the mall. It was a great place to take the kids.
Question for you.....Do you have any readers you have known longer than me? And do you remember where we first crossed paths? I'm guessing it was in 1991-92.
ALways good to hear from you Tim...Gosh, yes, forgot about that, probably `91, I would think? Football coverage?