So long, Sears
By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 19, 2017
I grew up in Little Britain, a small village outside Lindsay that some readers may be familiar with. The place with the butter tart shop.
Along with a bakery, the village was home to a proverbial handful of businesses when I was a kid there in the 1980s, including a grocery store, gas station, restaurant, pub and corner store, where we’d we go for candy and to rent VHS tapes.
The corner store was also the local Sears depot, which always seemed to be bustling. As one might imagine, there was no department store in Little Britain, and the Sears depot was a place local people could go to pick up clothing, appliances and other items they’d ordered over the phone. Depending on the item, purchasing these things would have required a trip to at least Lindsay, and perhaps Peterborough or Oshawa.
The Sears depot offered a huge convenience in a time before the internet.
For kids, the fall arrival of the Sears Wish Book was a magical time, with hours spent flipping through pages eyeing the new toy inventory. In my case, this included special attention to anything robot- or dinosaur-related.
As most everyone is surely aware, all Sears stores will be closing after the company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. In June, the company closed 59 of its Canadian stores and indicated it was working on a restructuring in order to remain viable. That process came to a conclusion last week when it was announced a remaining 130 Sears stores in Canada would close, their inventories liquidated. In Haliburton County, this will mean the closure of the Sears store in Haliburton Village and the catalogue pick-up location in Minden.
The company’s decline has been evident during the past few years and certainly the internet has something do with Sears’ demise. Globalized online retailers such as Amazon and eBay have made the company’s business model almost obsolete. You can now order anything from anywhere in the world online, and it is shipped to your door. In some places, delivery is even being done by drones. The future is here and Sears will not be part of it.
It’s somewhat odd to have nostalgic feelings toward a profit-driven company, but it tends to happen in a consumerist society, especially toward a company that has been doing business for decades.
Sears Canada was once called Simpsons-Sears, with the American Sears, Roebuck and Co. teaming up with the Canadian Simpsons chain of department stores in the early 1950s. So the company has been a part of life for many Canadians of the past few generations. A place where many shopped, and where many worked.
It is sad that Sears is closing, and sad that another 12,000 Canadians will soon be out of work.