Third Time's the Charm?

By: Dwayne Wilder
Third Time’s the Charm?
The Sears Store location in Midway Mall has been saved by regional management during the past two rounds of closures by Sears Holdings Corporation; they couldn’t save it for this third round.
According to Midway Mall Manager Tabetha Snow, a Sears’ representative came to her office earlier in the week after making the closing announcement to the local employees.
“He told me that he had saved them the past two times, but declining sales made it harder to save them this time,” said Snow. “They (the Sherman location) just didn’t survive this round of cuts.” 
Snow also listed Sept. 3 as the last day for the store to be open; and a liquidation sale will begin June 16—presumably running through the last days.
Local store employees declined to comment about the closing; and one did say why.
“I’d love to (comment), but they won’t let me,” said one of the 17 current employees of the Sherman Sears location.
This latest round of closures includes 49 K-mart locations; 16 Sears stores and seven Sears Auto Centers (the auto center in Sherman is also on the list). This makes 180 stores that Sears Holdings is closing in 2017; the corporation, which also owns K-mart Stores, has closed almost 900 Sears stores since 2012.
Sears Holdings did not return calls concerning the store closing at the time of this story.
“I don’t know what we are going to do,” said Scott Wright, of Sherman. “We love Sears; have shopped there for years. I hate that it is closing.”
Wright also noted that he fears the Sears closing may affect the long term status of the mall.
“I want this mall to stay,” he said. “But I’ve just got a feeling; nothing lasts forever; but I hope Midway Mall lasts for a while.”
Another longtime shopper, Karen, from Van Alstyne, agreed that there were no signs that the store would close and it was a ‘surprise’ to her.
“I’m pretty sad about it. I hate to see it close,” she said. “I heard about the ones closing nationwide, but I hoped that it wouldn’t affect us here. I like shopping here.”
Billy Collier, of Denison, echoed the same sentiments. His family has been regular buyers of big ticket items at Sears over the years.
“I hate to see it close,” said Collier. “We come about once per month; it’s sad really.”
Bob Richard remembers when the local Sears store opened in the fall of 1964; on what is now Texoma Parkway on the same site as Midway Mall, which opened in 1986. Richard was a newly employed service technician for the new store.
“It makes me sad (that it will close),” said Richard, who retired in 1999 after 35 years with Sears. “I put a lot of work in there for them.”
Richard has followed the major retailer’s dilemma over recent years and believes that the start of the downfall began when Sears bought the K-mart stores.
“Since then, upper management has caused it (the overall downfall) and now, all these closings probably won’t save it (the Sears corporation),” he said. “It (the merger) didn’t help like they thought it would; and then, they didn’t handle it right.”
Richard also noted that the Sears Service Center, located behind Midway Mall, closed five years ago when the company consolidated services. This is where Richard worked all those years covering an area from Wichita Falls to Texarkana and Dallas to Tulsa.
Richard, a native of Denison, remembered when the Sears Catalog Stores opened in Sherman and Denison in the years before the retail store opened in 1964.
Nancy Richard, Bob’s wife, also worked at the local Sears store in customer service. She began in 1977 and retired in 2012; coincidently, with 35 years of service as well.
“I’m so sad; it just hard to imagine,” said Nancy. “I’ve suspected it for awhile; but there are such nice people still working there.”
With the closing of the Sherman location, there will not be a Sears site in Grayson County. The closest one will be in Durant – a Sears Authorized Hometown store – and McKinney, a Sears Home Appliance Showroom. There is also an outlet location in Allen, Texas. The nearest Sears store will be in Frisco and Richardson; there is also one in Golden Triangle Mall in Denton. The Frisco site will be the closest Auto Center location.
As for Midway Mall, Snow isn’t sure what the Sears closing means for the mall itself.
“That is for upper management to decide,” said Snow. “I will work with them locally.”
According to Snow, two other retailers closed doors recently in the mall: Journeys (June 3) and The Finish Line (May 31). She added that mall owners are working to bring in ‘non-traditional’ businesses such as medical offices and entertainment sites.
But soon among them will not be a Sears location to the dismay of many shoppers.
“We still go there,” said Nancy Richard. “But they are dying all over.”

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