The massive Art Deco building in the heart of Flatbush is a city landmark. It’s a fitting home for an iconic American retailer Sears.
It still has its original signage, Sears Roebuck and Company, dating back to when it opened here in 1932. The retail giant is now struggling nationwide but in this neighborhood, it’s still a staple.
“Well, Sears has, they got what I need,” says one shopper.
“It’s reputable. And you buy at Sears you take it back with no problem. You have no problem,” says another.
This Sears features plenty of merchandise in every department, advertised sales, a steady stream of shoppers and lines of customers at the register. It’s not the picture of a chain that declared bankruptcy in October and is scrambling to come up with a financial plan to avoid liquidation. For many here at least, shopping at Sears is a long-standing tradition.
“Since I was a kid. I was like 14 or 15. Down South when it was Sears and Roebuck,” says one customer.
“They talk about Amazon, but Sears goes way back. Way, way back. They used to have the thick catalogs with all the stuff in it. But I like shopping at Sears,” says another.
Sears has a big footprint here: it offers customers a large parking lot, 3 floors of merchandise from sturdy appliances to fine jewelry and an auto center across the street. Part of its space is dedicated to Kmart, which merged with Sears in 2005 to form the Sears Holding parent company. Customers we spoke with say it’s the Sears brand, not Kmart, that keeps them coming back, as well as the deals.
“Every time I shop I get points on my card. It makes it much easier. Yes, a lot of discounts,” says a frequent shopper.
Here for after Christmas sales?
One shopper replies, “No, just to have a look to see what’s going on inside, that’s all.”
A convenient—and to some, beloved—shopping destination that may soon disappear.
“I heard that Sears is closing so I come give the guys some support,” says a customer.
“We’re going to miss it,” says another.
Unless it’s saved by a last-minute rescue plan, it looks like they certainly will.