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Question of the day

Friday, Sep 17, 2021

* Sears is closing its last remaining Illinois store

The Sears anchor store at Woodfield Mall was such an instrumental part of the shopping center’s creation and early success that part of the mall’s name — the “Wood” is for legendary former Sears Chairman Robert E. Wood — pays tribute to the iconic retailer.

But now just a week after the suburban shopping mecca celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening, Woodfield’s Sears store is preparing to close its doors for the last time.

Officials from Sears’s Hoffman Estates-based parent company Transformco announced Thursday it will close the Woodfield store, its last remaining location in Illinois, on Nov. 14, as part of a corporate plan to “redevelop and reinvigorate the property.”

“This is part of the company’s strategy to unlock the value of the real estate and pursue the highest and best use for the benefit of the local community,” the announcement states.

Sears got its start in Chicago.

* The Question: Your Sears memories, if any?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

51 Comments
  1. - LoyalVirus - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:29 pm:

    Being handed the tome of a Christmas catalog when I was a kid & told to make up my wish list. I’d go directly to the NFL section. Every. Darn. Time.


  2. - Inverted Pyramid - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:29 pm:

    Christmas shopping in the Sears catalog.


  3. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    The underwear section of the Sears catalog was the most risqué thing I remember seeing as I entered puberty.


  4. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    Helping redo my grandparents porch.
    Tearing off the porch deck and finding “Sears Roebuck” stamped on all the joists.

    My grandparents had a Sears house.
    It was a pretty cool house.


  5. - Blue Dog - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    My mother actually kept the unused portion of the 1950 catalogue.


  6. - very old soil - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    I remember going to Sears every payday and buying Craftsman tools. Fifty years ago combination wrenches and screwdrivers were a lot less than a dollar. Of course, I was only making $2.35/hour at the post office.


  7. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    The store had an elevator one of the few buildings I went into as a kid that had an elevator.


  8. - Huh? - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:40 pm:

    No questions asked for replacement of broken craftsman hand tools and wrenches. Even those which were intentionally abused.


  9. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:41 pm:

    The candy counter with the delicious hot nuts, like the cashews.


  10. - Chito - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    My parents taking me to buy “husky” pants at the sprawling Homan Ave store in Chicago’s West side.


  11. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    I spent the night outside of Sears in 1983 to be the first kid in Kankakee to buy Van Halen tickets at the Ticketmaster in the store.


  12. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:46 pm:

    Swore by Craftsman lawnmowers up until the point where I just couldn’t get them or get them serviced anymore locally. Sad. Had Sears as a client over a decade ago and visited their HQ. Felt like it was emptying out even then.


  13. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:49 pm:

    Every August my parents would take my brother and I to Sears for school shoes. They had those X15 shoes that made you “cool” at school.

    And in Springfield, their store on 2nd and South Grand (now DHS) had the best hot dogs in the world and the candy counter that was amazing.


  14. - Dan - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:50 pm:

    Definitely the Christmas wish list catalog and Toughskins jeans as a kid. The knees were indestructible.


  15. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:50 pm:

    The Sears Christmas catalog first and foremost. A family friend called our house when I was 7 or 8 and when I answered he pretended to be Santa. He asked me what I wanted and I told him to hold on so I could get the Sears Christmas Catalogue. More than 40 years later my parents still tell that story at Chistmas.

    I always remember my Dad’s loyalty to craftsman tools, so much so I am hooked on them to this day.

    Finally, we used to go to the Oak Brook store on Sunday’s after church and I was always captivated by the pong game in the TV section.

    I miss sears and hate what they did to it and I have never missed a store.


  16. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:55 pm:

    When I moved in 2000, I bought a Sears lawnmower and snow blower. I still have my snow blower that gets a tune up and still works just fine. My washer and dryer are also Sears. Repairman that fixed the washer said this was the best one they made and it was a simple fix. The replacement he would suggest would be Speed Queen.


  17. - Nick Name - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:55 pm:

    Keeping with the Christmas theme, in addition to the catalogue, my earliest memories of a store Santa was the store Santa in a Sears in Madison, Wisconsin.


  18. - Someonehastosayit - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:57 pm:

    Six Degrees, your comment made me think of the famous (infamous?) 602 man: https://www.villagevoice.com/2010/07/07/did-a-model-slip-his-junk-into-the-1975-sears-catalog-you-make-the-call/


  19. - zatoichi - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:57 pm:

    Went to the two story Sears in Oakbrook with my parents for clothes, tools, toys. They did have electric trains setup for Christmas. Bought some of my first Craftsman tools there over 50 years ago and still use them. Store closed several years ago.


  20. - PublicServant - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:57 pm:

    Craftsman wrenches from the six corners Sears store with the Hillman’s Grocery store in the basement…One stop shopping for everything.


  21. - Steve Polite - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:01 pm:

    “And in Springfield, their store on 2nd and South Grand (now DHS) had the best hot dogs in the world”

    They had hot cheese sauce too. Their cheese dogs were scrumptious, the best. That’s my Sears memory.


  22. - The Magnificent Purple Walnut - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:01 pm:

    Bought my first house when I was still single. Had a card table and chairs for a kitchen set, no furniture in the living room and a 12″ Zenith b/w tv on a cart. Went to Sears on day one and bought a brand new Kenmore washer and dryer. Priorities.


  23. - Annon3 - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:04 pm:

    My mom ironing some sort of patch on the inside of our “Toughskin” school pants so the knees would not wear out and they could be hand me downs, pretty sure I never got new school pants for eight years of grade school. Also, not sure what their white/blue shirts were made out of but it was not cotton.


  24. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:14 pm:

    When I was 6 or 7, we took the long drive into the big city (not a big city) to go to Sears and get my very first baseball glove. Stiffest glove I ever had, no amount of conditioning would break it in.

    It’s really my only Sears memory since we had to travel about an hour to get there when I was a kid.


  25. - Cheryl Powell - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:17 pm:

    My grandparents house was a kit they bought at Sears.


  26. - Big Jer - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:20 pm:

    Like most here my absolute favorite Sears memory was the Christmas catalog.

    My first career was engineering/manufacturing so I was very loyal to Craftsman tools. My parents and later myself were loyal to Kenmore appliances. I think the quality of Kenmore went down in the last 20 years due to globalization/outsourcing, etc.

    Lastly in ode to the suburban sprawl of Chicago Metro, my first Sears experience was going with my Dad to the store at Six Corners store on Irving Park/Milwaukee in Jefferson Park. The rest of my childhood was in Lombard so it was usually the Oakbrook Sears and most of my adulthood was in the northwest suburbs so the WoodField Sears.

    The demise of Sears is sad as to me it represented good quality merchandise at reasonable prices. When I get nostalgic for “the old days” Sears is a part of it when we were a more modest country and people. IMO I think Sears lost part of its soul when it built that massive corporate HQ complex in Hoffman Estates.


  27. - Dysfunction Junction - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:20 pm:

    In 1976 or 1977, my uncle took my brother, cousin, and I in his new Monte Carlo to the Sears in Woodfield. Bought matching navy blue leisure suits and light blue turtlenecks so we could be junior groomsmen in my uncle’s wedding. To paraphrase Elwood Blues, “lots of space in [that] mall.”


  28. - Simple Simon - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:20 pm:

    In the Springfield store at 2nd and S Grand, my Mom broke the gender barrier in the mid 70s by becoming the first woman to work in the hardware section. The men there made a little more per hour than the ladies in the kids section, and Mom didn’t think it was right. Had to be a bit persistent, too. She became known as the Hardware Lady. Still knows her tools, too.


  29. - Stix Hix - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:21 pm:

    Very Old said:

    -I remember going to Sears every payday and buying Craftsman tools.–

    I did that too. I would look at the weekly flyer and buy the common tool I didn’t yet have.

    Got my first credit card from Sears, which enabled me to establish a (good) credit file.


  30. - Birds on the Bat - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:23 pm:

    And in Springfield, their store on 2nd and South Grand (now DHS) had the best hot dogs in the world and the candy counter that was amazing.

    That store had an escalator too. It was a big deal to go to Sears and run up the down escalator.


  31. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:23 pm:

    Bought many pairs of husky pants for the boys as part of the parochial school uniform over the years.


  32. - Donnie Egin - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:29 pm:

    Listening to WLS as a kid and fascinating my friends with the knowledge that WLS stands for “Worlds Largest Store” a reference to the fact that sears started the station.

    WLS
    Radio station WLS—for “world’s largest store”—was started by Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1924. Four years later, Sears sold it to the Prairie Farmer newspaper, which made its Barn Dance a national hit

    http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1366.html


  33. - Friendly Bob Adams - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:29 pm:

    Sears was the first corporation to entrust me with a credit card, which was a godsend to a very broke graduate student.


  34. - workingfromhome - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:31 pm:

    Going to Sears at Oak Brook Mall (a definite step up from the riff raff who went to Yorktown Mall ;-)) to do ALL of our Christmas shopping in one fell swoop.

    Going to the Sears closer to our house with my dad to drop off a check to the Allstate insurance guy who had a desk there for his car insurance premium.


  35. - walker - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:31 pm:

    found a Sears catalogue in an old outhouse once

    at the store — straight for the tools every time


  36. - Stones - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:33 pm:

    I loved their catalogue and those Craftsman tools were the best. Lifetime warranty.


  37. - Hot dogs at sears - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:34 pm:

    Sears on 2nd and South Grand to me had the 2nd best hot gods next to Allen Cigar shop downtown with the drugstore Indian out front.


  38. - Democrat Grrrl - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:36 pm:

    My mother always took me for my Easter outfit (Including hat and gloves) at the Sears store in East St. Louis.


  39. - Banish Misfortune - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:42 pm:

    Kenmore appliances and every tool I ever owned.


  40. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:42 pm:

    As a kid: the Xmas catalog (my two siblings and I would pass around the big 3: Sears, JCPenney’s, Montgomery Wards - having all three was key for three kids).

    As an adult: the Craftsman tool section. When I was getting ready to go to college, dad got me a small set. Of course, no one else on the floor had a set of tools, so they saw a lot of use. (I did the same for my kids a few years back.) In adulthood, any trip to Sears included browsing the Craftsman tools; they last forever (I still have that set dad got me), so the collection only grows. (Fortunately, for now, Sears has small “hometown stores;” so, my addiction continues.)


  41. - AnonymousFool - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:49 pm:

    An old snowblower that always broke cotter pins when used on 6+ inches of snow, but otherwise bulletproof. Always started and the blade always turned unless it got jammed up with ice.


  42. - jackmac - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:01 pm:

    I owned several three-speed Sears bikes over the years, the last purchased at the North and Harlem store. They were reasonably-priced and functional. That’s all I needed.


  43. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:04 pm:

    I remember being mortified as the saleswoman announced to the world, “He’s going to need a pair of husky’s”.


  44. - Facts Matter - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:08 pm:

    My first baseball glove was a Ted Williams glove from Sears. My first 10 speed bike was from Sears - it was incredibly heavy, but indestructible.


  45. - Original Rambler - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    Craftsman hand tools and their warranty.


  46. - DuPage - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    1960s Craftsman tools, (they used to be good). If they broke, which they rarely did, they were exchanged for a new one. No receipt needed, no hassle, they would even break open a set to obtain the tool needed. All made in the USA.

    Sadly, “not anymore”.


  47. - jt11505 - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:25 pm:

    In Joliet, the JC Penney and Sears store were connected by an enclosed catwalk that went over the street. That walk was so cool.


  48. - SAP - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:36 pm:

    Toughskin jeans and the Winner tennis shoes every year for back to school.

    The catalogue too-spent hours looking at that thing every year.


  49. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:37 pm:

    Excellent appliances. And anyone remember the 1970s commercial where a single Sears Die Hard battery started an entire row of cars in a wintry Soldier Field parking lot? Link is for a 1990 version.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSzaTfehvr4


  50. - What's in a name? - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:49 pm:

    Sitting on the riding lawn mowers in Park Forest. My mother was Marshall Fields; my father was Sears. (and the catalog.)


  51. - iroquois county dem - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 4:35 pm:

    Sears was my dads go to store for years.My first bicycle was a 20″ J.C. Higgins bought at the sears store in the meadowview shopping center in Kankakee and the last Christmas present I bought for my late wife came from Sears in the Northfield mall in Bradley. Lots of memories


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