Sears, please don’t go, I love you so…
With financial bankruptcy/rescue efforts being discussed for Sears/Kmart, you’re probably wondering why I’m singing love songs. Here are three reasons:
Many of my fondest childhood memories have a Sears connection. Growing up, some of my happiest hours were spent poring over the Sears and Roebuck catalog, and when the annual Christmas Wish Book arrived around August, my sisters and I spent almost every waking moment shopping for stuff we loved and couldn’t live without.
We loved every doll, all the exquisite dresses and coats—heck, we even loved the girdles and bras–trust me, there was something we needed from almost every page! We would go next door to Grandma’s, get comfortable on her couch and we’d each take a page and plan extensively how to spend our cotton picking money (literally money we had made on Saturdays and after school picking cotton).
Secondly, as a young, up and coming working woman, my first credit card came from Sears Roebuck & Company. For me, that meant I had officially arrived! My trusty Sears account helped us buy our first Kenmore appliances and Craftsmen tools, tires, toys, school clothes, birthday presents–virtually anything on earth we needed. When I saw my first Sears house years later, I was speechless—Sears had virtually any and everything.
While I was a poor graduate student at Murray State University in the late 1980s, I worked part-time selling home appliances at Sears on Memorial Drive in Paris, Tennessee. I proudly and passionately sold vacuum cleaners with extra suction for edge cleaning, quiet washers with automatic rinse dispensers and televisions that turned themselves off automatically. I could testify about my personal experiences, about the value, quality, long life and innovations Sears offered in its products and service because I believed the Sears’ products were second to none. I’m not sure how this beloved brand/icon has come to this fragile place, but it’s a place where its vibrancy and very survival are threatened.
Finally, when Kmart married into the Sears family, I hoped that the two could overcome their individual weaknesses to become the innovative, progressive, exciting stores I knew and loved. Kmart and those blue-light specials were addictive and I still remember what a treat that huge store on Summer Avenue in Memphis was when we had the rare occasion to shop there. That Kmart store is history now and sale of their best performing stores will be the key to the company’s successful restructuring and regrouping in bankruptcy.
Their liabilities and income are far apart and with more than 70,000 jobs at stake, I am prayerful that through innovation and creativity, they find a niche that works and makes sense to today’s consumers. This week, as a salute to this rich legacy of more than 181 years—1893 for Sears and 1962 for the first Kmart—stop in and shop like that Wish Book is on your iPhone and Friday is Christmas Eve!
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.