The Aberdeen Sears store, one-stop shopping for generations of Harborites looking for everything from school shoes to a set of tires, is closing before the end of the year.
The store is one of dozens Transform Co, which is the parent company of the financially beleagured Sears Holdings and Kmart, plans to close in the next few months. The Aberdeen Sears has dodged closure for years when other such lists have been announced, thought by many to be spared because the company, not the mall, owned the building it occupies at the south end of the Shoppes at Riverside.
Store workers referred questions Monday to corporate offices, which were closed for Labor Day.
As she walked into the Aberdeen store this morning, Jessica Torres of Aberdeen seemed typical of many consumers, saying she once shopped more often at Sears, but doesn’t go as frequently and when she does, it’s likely for large items such as appliances. She was there Monday to pay a bill for a refrigerator she bought at the Sears in Olympia.
She said she bought it there because she’s a student at Evergreen in Olympia and her hours made that more convenient. Even then, she called from the Olympia store, planning to buy it in Aberdeen if she could, but no one answered, she said.
“Slowly but surely, everything is going away here,” she said. “But I see it everywhere. … It was sad when K-Mart left, sad when J.C. Penney left. They (Sears) were the last ones standing,” said Torres.
In the late 1970s, Sears moved from downtown Aberdeen to what was then named SouthShore Mall. It left a giant hole in the downtown retail landscape.
TomQuigg of Windermere Real Estate and a local historian, remembers that Sears once operated two large buildings in downtown Aberdeen. On Wishkah, in what was most recently the Salvation Army thrift shop, Sears sold clothing, housewares home furnishing and other soft goods.
Behind that, across the alley was a separate building that offered tires and automotive services, gardening supplies, tools and appliances.
“There was even a guy who sold insurance, who would stand there as you came in,” Quigg recalled.
Sears has struggled for years and lost ground to Amazon, WalMart and other big box retailers, and last year went through a messy bankruptcy.
This story in Fortune magazine describes a “slow-motion collapse” that goes back half a century. https://fortune.com/longform/sears-self-destruction/