Sears Closing Date Moved Up
One thing that I think we all have in common: We've been shopping at Sears ever since we can remember. Ok....maybe a lot less these past few years. That's why the closing of Battle Creek's Sears store is no big surprise. But it's still a hard thing for people like me. Battle Creek's Sears was going to close in February. That closing is now going to be Sunday January 20th, 2019.
Sears should be the "Amazon", but for some reason it's not. They had everything in place to corner the market on internet shopping. They didn't do it.
I went into Sears Friday, and immediately remembered what was so great about it. The same people worked there for decades!. You recognized them. You felt some trust. You knew they didn't steer you wrong the last time you bought that Maytag, and that might have been 20 years ago or more. You didn't need a new car battery that often, but the same guy sold you that Die Hard every few years. On the rare occasion that that Craftsman wrench broke, the same guy you bought it from handed you the new one with a smile, and said "That covered under the Craftsman lifetime guarantee."
My late friend, Jack Reynolds, worked for decades at Sears selling appliances. He started at the old building downtown, where Horrock's is now. I asked him once, if the move to the mall increased business. He said, "It probably increased it ten-fold!". Jack said he sold so many appliances those first couple of years at the mall that the company decided to restructure their whole commission structure and pay their people less. Today, I talked with a 20+ year veteran on the floor and told her that story. She looked a little sad and indicated that the trend of diminishing compensation had continued ever since. She said she started as a part-timer at the old downtown store and later came back at the mall store as a lifer. "New associates would always ask why customers would go straight to me. It told them it's because they remember me from the last few times they bought something here."
One thing I won't miss is the disappointment on the faces of those dedicated Sears employees in recent years when they had to look you in the eye, and let you down. They never had to let a customer down for a long time, but these last few years, they knew their company wasn't the same anymore.
The shelves are getting bare, and the displays are shrinking fast. It reminds me of the Battle Creek K-Mart a year ago. Prices are marked down a lot. There are some bargains to be had, but only for a couple more weeks.
Here's a photo gallery of the store. Interesting that there are still "Now Hiring" posters up. They are also selling "fixtures", i.e. shelving, cabinets, and other parts of the store. I spied a couple of file cabinets that probably came over from the old downtown store.