It makes me very sad when I think of the slow demise of Sears. My father was a manager for Sears for almost 20 years. He received his business degree from Auburn University in 1948 and began to work for them almost immediately. Sears and Roebuck was a great company to work for…you could buy almost anything from them! Sears began in Chicago in 1893 and soon led the retail market in selling everything from Kenmore appliances to Craftsmen tools to pretty decent clothes for families.
One of my earliest memories is of walking into Sears holding Daddy’s hand. He wore a suit and tie, and he was important. Everyone said, “Good morning Mr. Sanders! Hi Mr. Sanders! Is this your little boy?” And then Daddy would proudly introduce me to all the people working in the paint department or lawn and garden or the toy department (my favorite place, of course). I felt important standing next to my handsome father all decked out in his immaculate suit and shiny shoes. Then he would say to me, “Give ’em a Sears handshake son!”. He would laugh as I would try to squeeze a man’s hand as hard as I could.
Do you remember the wonderful Sears Christmas catalog? We waited every year for that thing to arrive. It was loaded with so many wonderful toys for little kids like me. As their commercials would say, “Sears has everything!” It really did!
But not now. I went into my local Sears the other day. It almost made me cry. It was quiet. It was bare in some places. There were signs up commemorating this year as the 125th year of Sears being in business. There was very little business going on, however. Sears has now filed chapter 11 bankruptcy. Will they be able to pull out? Sears failed to adapt over the years and consistently made very bad decisions over the past 25 years. Sears had everything. I sure hope they can turn it out soon.