Last week, I had the opportunity to visit a Sears store for the first time in about a year.
Since my previous visit, I’ve read many articles about the decline of traditional retailers, particularly Sears, but this represented an opportunity to see how things were going at Sears with my own eyes.
As someone in his mid-40s, I can remember when Sears was one of the premier companies in the United States.
Sears was founded in 1886 (I can’t remember that!) and Sears Roebuck & Company was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1924 through 1999. Growing up, the Sears Wish Book was required reading for my siblings and I, as it provided an almost unimaginable list of options to hope for on Christmas Day. Sears was still the largest retailer in the country when I headed off to college, and at the time also owned Allstate Insurance Company, stock brokerage Dean Witter, the Discover card, and real estate company Coldwell Banker, in addition to many other businesses. The Sears Tower in Chicago was the tallest building in the world for most of my life. Even today, brands associated with Sears, such as Craftsman, DieHard, and Kenmore, are still well-known to many Americans.