My Ode To Sears and Roebuck–Kenmore Could Be No More!

Growing up in Orlando one of the downtown standards was Sears and Roebucks down the street from J.C. Penney.  If you could not find it in one you would walk to the other.  As I grew up I knew my father and mother thought the Kenmore brand was the answer to anything.  My father would buy Craftsman tools as a machinist because if it broke they would replace them.  My father took care of tools and I don’t recall him having to do this but it was a nice sales gimmick.  When we moved right after graduation to Virginia Beach, just down the road at the Pembroke Mall was the anchor store, Sears.  When Sears had the Tom Landry series of clothes, we bought my dad a gift certificate. He adored the Dallas Cowboys coach and his ethics and values.  He said he was going to buy a hat like Landry and so he did.  When Coach Tom came out on TV on one very cold game without his famous style hat, dad threw a fit and never wore the hat again.  It was in his closet when he died, having sat there for nearly twenty years.  Sears and Roebuck was famous for its catalog sales and the catalog became associated with going to the outhouse in rural America. In 1969, Sears announced plans to build a new headquarters building in downtown Chicago. The 110-story Sears Tower became the world’s tallest building at 1,454 feet when it was opened in 1973. The staggering amount of materials needed to construct the building included 76,000 tons of steel, 2 million cubic feet of concrete, 16,000 tinted windows, 1,500 miles of electrical wiring and 80 miles of elevator cable.  However, the pillar of American retail for over one hundred years had been predicted by the Wall Street Journal to disappear in the next year. 

Though it has been many years since I shopped in a Sears, I will miss the memories of Christmas in Sears and the Orlando parade snaking its way past the Sears and Roebuck store on the corner.  Icons of my childhood seem to disappear at an alarming rate.  Two other things I will miss mentioned in the article were Kellogg’s Corn Pops and A & W Root Beer restaurants.  As I get older I am sure more will depart from the landscape but I always thought there would have been Sears and Roebucks. 

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