NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the end of an era.
The last Sears department store in New York City is shutting its doors.
At its opening in 1932, Eleanor Roosevelt, then first lady of New York, addressed the audience.
Sears was once the biggest retailer in the world, biggest employer in the country, and biggest publisher. Its catalogues offered everything.
“They were doing it before Amazon,” shopper Tyrone Saunders told CBS2’s Alice Gainer. “You could buy houses … order houses from Sears.”
Yes, home, and even headstones.
But Sears department stores have been closing left and right over the past decade. At this point, very few remain.
The latest to go is the Flatbush, Brooklyn location at Beverley Road, which had been in operation for nearly 90 years.
“I don’t like going online for anything, but it seems like you’re being forced to,” Saunders said.
Saunders said his latest trip to Sears will be his last.
Transformco, which acquired Sears’ holdings assets after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2018, said it’s closing the Brooklyn store.
“In order 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 company said in a statement.
The building, itself, won’t be torn down, though. Years ago, it was designated as a landmark.
Transformco said it’s focused on growing Sears.com and the Sears Home Services business.
“I think what we’re now going to see is a procession of closing announcements, all under the guise of higher, better use of the real estate,” said Mark A. Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia Business School.
Cohen, a former Sears executive, said he blames poor leadership.
“It could’ve been the Amazon of the 21st century. No reason why not, but for the fact that it suffered from avarice, greed, incompetence,” Cohen said.
As for the Flatbush location, your final shopping day is Nov. 24.