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Archive for Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sears to close Lawrence store

December 29, 2011, 1:46 p.m. Updated December 30, 2011, 12:18 a.m.

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After 13 years in business, the full-line Sears store in Lawrence will close its doors.

The local store, at 2727 Iowa, is one of 79 Sears and Kmart stores across the country that Sears Holding Corp. slated for closure on Thursday. The announcement came two days after the company said a slow holiday season and other economic factors would force the closure of 100 to 120 stores across the country.

Kimberly Freely, spokeswoman for Sears Holding Corp., said the company closed stores in underperforming locations. The closing dates haven’t been set and would depend on liquidation needs, city regulations and lease dates.

Officials at the Lawrence Sears store wouldn’t comment.

On Thursday evening, the parking lot in front of Sears had about a dozen cars and customers were still filtering in and out.

Tracy Ewy had come from Eudora to shop for appliances and was disappointed to hear the store was closing.

“I don’t shop here a lot. But it’s nice having choices for appliances. There are not a lot of options in Lawrence,” she said.

The Lawrence store is the only one in Kansas selected to close. Another Sears store in Lee’s Summit, Mo., was on the list. No Kmarts in the region were selected.

As for the employees, Freely said those who qualify would be offered severance packages. And, closer to the closing date, workers will be notified of job openings in nearby Sears and Kmart stores, although they would have to apply for those jobs.

Sears, in one form or another, has a lengthy history in Lawrence.

In 1965, a Sears catalog store moved from 13 E. Ninth St. to a new 10,000-square-foot store at the Hillcrest Shopping Center at Ninth and Iowa. In 1993, that store closed along with 100 other Sears catalog and small retail stores.

A year later, a new Sears appliance, electronics and lawn and garden store opened at 2108 W. 27th St. That store closed when the full-line Sears opened in 1998 at its current location.

The 60,000-square-foot building, which is leased by Sears, once housed the city’s first Walmart and later a Half-Price Store. Six years after it opened, the store underwent a $405,000 remodel.

Kelly Whitehouse, who visits the Lawrence store six to eight times a year, wasn’t happy with the news.

“We use it for tools and appliances. It’s a convenience. That is the bad thing,” Whitehouse said.

Thursday evening was probably the first time Jerree Catlin had visited the store in Lawrence. She was with her husband searching for a Nordic Track.

“Still, I hate to see anything like this move out of town,” Catlin said.

Even those who were sad to see it go said they weren’t surprised by the news, commenting that the store often doesn’t appear to be busy.

“When I come here there are not always a lot of cars,” Ewy said.

Comments

Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

With the ultra unique national and international economic situation we should demand more action from our elected officials.

KU, City of Lawrence, HoboInn, USD497, SRS, and all the other tax based work is just that. Tax based, it sucks revenue. Without sales taxes the home owner is target one.

Are we actively job one, put the work gloves on, pack me a lunch mamma gonna be late, put some shoulder into it, clear the table and start over, weeping, begging, get er done, put some sweat into it...........solve the horrid problem business (sales tax bucks) leaving our community?

Or, are we more interested in the curtains for our new library? Pretty soon the Q-Trip on Iowa is going to be our largest private employer.

The time is yesterday for action!

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IrishCat 2 years, 3 months ago

In light of my earlier negative comment about Sears, I did want to mention something positive about this south end of town. I live in the south end of town and a few nights before Christmas, my family and I went out to finish up a few odds and ends for Christmas. We went to PetCo for pet food and toys, we went to WalMart for some stocking stuffers and misc. items, we went to Pier 1 for some gifts for extended family members and ended up eating at Chili's..All within about a six block area, totally happy with the service, the amount of driving or lack there of that I had to do, and it made for a great holiday evening with my family. It was nice not to have to drive all over town or to KC for the smaller things that I needed.

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IrishCat 2 years, 3 months ago

As mentioned earlier in the comments, one reason for the Sears store showing poor profits is clearly from bad customer service. I was there a few weeks ago and had what was probably the worst customer service I have ever had. I came in to buy a dryer, actually ready to buy one, not just browse. I waited probably 15 minutes for someone to wait on me, finally had to go find a salesperson myself, who by the way knew nothing about dryers and tried to sell me a "new" dryer that had a tag on it that said "used" and had strap marks on the top of it. To add to that, right in the middle of discussion about a purchase, he told me he was told he had to go to dinner. He told me that I was going to be helped by someone else. Well, that person never came either. I waited some more..finally I went looking for yet another salesperson and found one sitting at a desk scratching his man-stuff like he was digging for gold. As I approached him, I coughed so he would know I was getting closer and stop, but he looked right up at me and continued to dig..seriously...he too knew virtually nothing about dryers, and while still watching him scratch, I walked out of the store thoroughly disgusted. I'm no girlie girl, but seriously...take a shower or spray yourself with something! Anyway, I vowed to never go back there because of that experience and now it appears I don't have to..

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Carol Bowen 2 years, 3 months ago

The issue has nothing to do with anti business. It is possible to develop without asking for variances. Scaling back an extreme proposal to a not-so-extreme proposal does not make a development ok. In most municipalities the codes are more consistently enforced, and consequently, there is less strife between developers and residents. I contend that we have a community issue (lack of consistency) rather than a neighborhood issue.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

OneeyeW....even has rules for closings, sales, permits no less.......... Another example of not being business friendly.......you got it right.

Before moving here 20 years ago thought my buddies telling me about the anti business, smooch my fellow commissioner was exaggeration. Changed my mind. Heard far too many stories from young and old business people regarding regulation, special use areas, and the worst, we are so special we need nothing.

Met an old man (Granddads?) who used to travel around the Midwest towing his BBQ set-up. He told me the city always made it too difficult to start a storefront location. Made me almost come to tears hearing all the nonsense they through at him. He claimed the city felt they didn't need his joint.

Which is an attitude which used to be exuded by Lawrencians. Well folks, we have blight, we have unreported crime, a university declining in enrollment, stalled growth, no jobs, and worse of all our neighbors are stepping on our necks. Match over, game set.........next.

Wife suggested we get a weekend hotel room and do Christmas shopping in Manhattan next year. Not a bad idea.

Next time a KU blowhard claims to know about city growth get the tar and feathers and run he or she out of town.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 3 months ago

seagull, i have commented about Mr. Simons tackling Lawrence instead of the KU Med Center, KU Hospital. REmember that stuff goes way back when another relative of Simons, a doctor, oh well, no one remembers that stuff.

Anyway, the City even has rules for closings, sales, permits no less. Another example of not being business friendly.

In 2012, one could only hope that the commissioners would grow a "set" instead of the tomatoes that Schumm grows on his $1.14 cent lot downtown or something like that. Now there is a Sat column for Dolph.

So in 2012, Corliss gets directed to clean house from top to bottom at city hall and every other place that employees are located.

It is time that the staff quit dictating how Lawrence is to be and they start being friendly and helping those who pay their salaries. Will it happen? No, because the commissioners are in bed with KU and a few "selected" developers of choice. Status quo over rides common sense and business.

LAN has for far too long been recognized at City Hall as some papal power. They fought allowing Target into Neider Acres. Go figure!

Think back door politics are not at work? Let's see who gets picked as the "manager' thingy for the library project, you know the one that will kinda eliminate certain procedures but allow someone or some firm to make the easy money..hehehehe it's coming.

Thank god, that the Sears buidling is not in a historic district or near something historic or Lyn Zollner and her merry band of dolts at HRC would tie up a project for years.

Just as an aside, how was BO's corner ever zoned residential? No one has answered that yet or come forward as being the dolt who did it? Maybe Dolph knows?

If he would ride to KCK with wilbur and get some bar b q at Oklahoma Joes, he could some interviews on the street about KU Hospital and KU Med Center and find out that there is no need to write about it in 2012, 'cause no one cares.

Happy New Year from wilbur.

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Chris Ogle 2 years, 3 months ago

Good spot for a mini wally-world with one check out lane. Just think, they could claim that all check out lanes are always open.

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paul85 2 years, 3 months ago

How about a dollar theater? Oh wait, the dollar theater is now $2.50 and the movies have been available on netflix for 6 months.

Nevermind!

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irvan moore 2 years, 3 months ago

lawrence is going to hell in a handbasket, no k mart, no sears, no trailer park, geez

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 3 months ago

The Pretentious Cow. Now there is a former business I haven't thought about for quite a while. I wonder why?

Woof, woof.

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mothergoat 2 years, 3 months ago

Yeah the store looks just over 60,000 sq ft.

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purplesage 2 years, 3 months ago

600,000 square feet? An acre is something like 43,000 square feet. I think it has been inflated by a zero.

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seagull 2 years, 3 months ago

Sad to see Sears go but not surprised. It's lack of success seems partly a corporate strategy problem--why go there to buy clothes or bedding--and lack of good service at the local level. I'd love to by Kenmore appliances. They always get good ratings and there's something very American about the Kenmore name (even if the appliances are really made by someone else). But have you even tried to get any solid information from a sales person? I was in there the other day looking at ranges. I must have been there for 15 minutes before a person came up behind me and yelled--"Can I help you" and then left. They had a much better selection of appliances than even Factory Direct. Even if I had asked some questions, I doubt I would have gotten any good, helpful information. They don't price match on their non-Kenmore brands.

More importantly, it seems, is what Sears' closing says about Lawrence as a thriving community able to support retail. The idea that a mall would have solved (or would solve) the problem is crazy. We'd just have a big mall with depressingly empty spaces. How many stores have closed in Lawrence in the last few years? Instead of constantly berating KU, Dolph ought to make the city the focus of his Saturday columns. It seems that the city, one of the big drawing points for students at KU, is need of a real wake-up call. It can no longer rest on its self-perceptions of itself as a Kansas mecca. Have you been to Manhattan lately? Of course, Kansas City is not 40 minutes away.

We also need to support stores in Lawrence if we want choices.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 3 months ago

Exit Sears ~ Enter Big Lot, Gordman's, or Burlington Coat Factory!!!

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

Our Sears is the ONLY one in the state that is closing...............

When is this community going to wake up and realize we need sales tax revenues. Yesterday at 3 in the afternoon the Olive Garden parking lot in Manhattan was filled.

Contrast this with the empty decaying parking lot of the Plum Garden. Borders, Old Navy, Sears, North Lawrence........the list grows

From what I saw in Manhattan there is room for another Olive Garden on the N.W. side of town, a separate booming shopping area in a town of 52K. Two shopping areas plus Aggieville, and a downtown to boot.

My wife and I quit counting all the new building going on.

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skinny 2 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they'll put in a K-Mart in it's place!

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grammaddy 2 years, 3 months ago

Our Sears is the ONLY one in the state that is closing, what's up with that?

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kujhawkfan 2 years, 3 months ago

For those wondering about the Kmart Distribution Center, it has never serviced full-line Sears stores. It has serviced about a half dozen Sears Grand stores, but currently only services one. Out of the 38 Kmart stores listed that are closing, zero are fully serviced by the Lawrence DC. However, the Lawrence DC is also a National Specialty Center and does ship certain items to each of the Kmart DC's across the country and from there each distribution center ships the products to the stores they service. Sears Holdings is expected to announce another 20-40 store closings soon.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

Maybe some of you aniti growth geeters take a short drive to Manhattan a city of 52 K. I did today, and you would be amazed at the growth and building activity.

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greenworld 2 years, 3 months ago

i dont know but what a better location for a Golden Correl than the old empty chinese place at 27th and iowa. Sounds good to me. Bring it and build it and they will come.

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greenworld 2 years, 3 months ago

Could turn it into another Pricilla's and it would get tons of business. It used to be a walmart years ago. Maybe make it another walmart...lol or if nothing better than a casino in town. That would take the tree hugging city commission to long to discuss the better options...kind of like the empty buildings up off 27th and Iowa on the Northeast side of the street that have been there the last 15-20 years just sitting.

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Andini 2 years, 3 months ago

That location is cursed. Walmart couldn't make it there either.

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Grump 2 years, 3 months ago

Sears will probably hit up Lawrence government for some tax incentives to stay.

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Carol Bowen 2 years, 3 months ago

It wasn't hard to anticipate Sears' closure. Did anyone else notice that Ace Hardware is carrying Crafstman tools? I hope that works.

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Bob Forer 2 years, 3 months ago

I haven't had anything to do with Sears since i was thirteen years old and enjoyed looking at the catalog pictures of women in underwear.

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Phoenixman 2 years, 3 months ago

Welcome to COSTCO, I love you.

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50YearResident 2 years, 3 months ago

History of Lawrence businesses that couldn't make it in Lawrence. 1) Riverfront Mall 2) North Lawrence Mall 3) FW Woolworth 4) Gibsons 5) Montgomery Wards 6) KMart 7) Sears 8) Johnson Furniture 9) Miller Furniture 10) Bud Jennings Carpet Many others I can't name at this time without some research.

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MARGIE50 2 years, 3 months ago

Maybe the city could find another apartment complex to go into the Sears building,

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

Larryville hates big corporations so this will not hurt. The jobs lost won't hurt either. The unemployed will now have time to get closer to their families and visit the wetlands. They'll even have time to protest something.

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 3 months ago

Gosh when did Sears move from east 9th street?? Yes going to miss this store, like one of above posts never crowded and easy finding a parking space, plus in summer months you could go to the fruit and vegy tent

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patkindle 2 years, 3 months ago

Most Lawrence folks are too smart or too cool to shop at sears (or any other local store)

It is a lot smarter and cooler to drive 30 or 50 miles, make all of Your purchases at a much lower prices

Plus get get to eat out, and are able to brag to your buddies about Your purchases

Our old home town used to have 3 new car dealerships Now they have none

The same folks that used to brag about driving out of town To buy their cars because of the money they saved. Are now whining about no place to get their car worked on

That’s the way it has always been That’s the way it will always be

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

The Wall Street Journal said that some powers that be in the financial world are not impressed with the move to close 120 stores.

Which could mean the whole K-Mart/Sears merger deal is on the way down the tubes...

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LogicMan 2 years, 3 months ago

What does the distribution center do with its scratch and dent, overstock, etc. stuff? Would converting this Sears into a K-Mart + Sears outlet center make sense? It's rent might be too high though.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Food for thought:

There is one consequence of helter skelter aimless growth that usually goes unmentioned by the local media,city hall and elected officials - local profiteers are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

NOT necessary city growth is the result of over several decades of subsidies paid for by the local taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town and KILL downtown.

We've subsidized local profiteers at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of local profiteers driving development.

How we subsidize profiteers:

  • building new and wider roads
  • building schools on the fringe
  • extending sewer and water lines to not necessary development
  • extending emergency services to the fringe
  • direct pay-outs to developers - for example developers of the new building at 9th and New Hampshire have taxpayers furnishing their tenants with parking spaces built with our tax dollars.

and David Cay Johnston then boggled the crowd with a blunt assertion: "We pay billions of dollars in taxes that never get to the government." Much of the sales tax we pay at big box stores and shopping centers is diverted to the large companies that own the stores. It's just one of the many swindles these chains have learned to perpetrate against city and county governments. This is so effective. "

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 3 months ago

I have said it time and again. We are buying cheap Chinese crap, you know, the sutff you use for a few days and throw away. We are selling the country to the Chinese and putting ourselves over a barrel. Soon, we will be looking down the barrel with the ChiComs holding the trigger. I hope I am not around when the order comes down from Bejing for all former Americans to learn Mandarin.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Too much retail for a small town to support. Why the Chamber of Commerce believes or ever believed that people would drive from everywhere to shop Lawrence is astounding. Lawrence,Kansas has been surrounded by retail shopping forever within a reasonable distance.

The answers and perhaps the rule of thumb would have been in retail impact studies and a Cost of Community Services Study. For some reason these Chamber thinkers always think they just know something as yet the community is still in the dark.

Retail failures in the form of Riverfront Plaza, Tanger Mall and 6th and Waakrusa should have sent red flags up all over the town instead city hall and tunnel vision kept following the Chamber vision of helter skelter aimless growth at any cost to the taxpayers which has produced economic displacement NOT economic growth.

Not even national giants can withstand economic displacement for years and years. Talbots left town as well. Borders is gone. Old Navy is gone.

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average 2 years, 3 months ago

There is actually one read on this that isn't quite as sackcloth and ashes. In part, the hedge-fund twerps running things are trying to extract value via targeted property sales.

http://www.businessinsider.com/sears-holding-liquidation-sale-hempton-2011-12

The Lawrence store looks (not for sure) like it might be held by a Sears property trust. While the two Topeka ghost-town Kmarts are not (leased).

If the Lawrence location looks more salable/leasable than properties in regions far more blighted with overbuilt retail vacancies (and that's most of the country, honestly), it may have played into the equation to close this location. Mind you, if they were doing gangbuster business, they wouldn't close, but on the line it might have been a factor.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 3 months ago

Office Depot is next. Stock dropped 60% this year and 94% from it's all time high five years ago.

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IgnorantYokel 2 years, 3 months ago

In the Internet age, box retail stores are merely showrooms for online shoppers who can buy the item for cheaper (often with free shipping and no sales tax).

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Deb Stavin 2 years, 3 months ago

I buy appliances at Stoneback Appliances here in Lawrence.

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greenworld 2 years, 3 months ago

Sears needed to close. Everytime we were in there , there warranties that they quote are 5-10 times more than any other place and I hardly ever got waited on. Thats no good and bad customer service. Within the last 1-5 years we have bought a brand new dishwasher and washer and dryer and went to Neb Furn Mart. Sorry Sears but you guys got played

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Joe Blackford II 2 years, 3 months ago

Former Manhattan Mayor Bruce Snerd, at the City Commission's passing of the NBAF plat, Sept. 2011:

"There are reasons people choose Manhattan over Topeka & Lawrence."

I thought he meant folks having a death wish; it seems now that Sears, KMart & Hastings are instead the big draw . . .

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

I just love "progressive" businesses. It's even more exciting when "progressive" businesses leave "progressive" villages.

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08Champs 2 years, 3 months ago

Steinmart would be great in that space -

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oletimer 2 years, 3 months ago

Count Sears as another victim of wally world. When you can tell your suppliers what you are going to pay well of course you can sell cheaper. Wally has been doing this for years and getting away with it because they use their "influence" on suppliers. When the day comes that wally is the only dog in the park, and it will happen, watch the prices go up then.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 3 months ago

Don Perkins was a food guy from Jewel. Premise was that food turnsover faster than dry goods, for example. Then Floyd Hall was picked, a Target guy.

Kmart would have been better to put Don Keeble VP of stores in charge of Kmart stores and the corporation.

Both Perkins and Hall were fine people but the BOD was too busy driving Cadillacs , buying fancy shoes, and that expensive hdqtrs in Troy. Even at one point there was a plan to move the corporate hdgtrs right back into Downtown Detroit. But the mentality of the BOD would not allow it as it wasn't fancy enough. Anyhoo... time passed and Walmart just chugged right along. Sell a product for $1.19 maybe 8oz product. Kmart has same brand 10oz for 1.29 but the customer sees the $1.19 and buys it because it is less money.

Dollar Store concept. Go into store and take $10.00 and walk out with 10 things. Now Dollar store is$1.25.

Anyone noticed that Dillons, Checkers, Aldi all have products for $1.00 . It is all about price , not necessarlly quantity. Watch for Target next to make store closings.

Piggles should realize that even if a retailer wanted to come to Lawrence now and there was population to support the store(i.e. the trade area), the Lawrence City Hall Planning and Development will run them off.

Lawrence is being run by the staff at City Hall instead of the Commissioners taking charge.

Lawrence needs a good CEO and a new Board of Directors to kick some b&&%^tt at City Hall and clean house.

The staff works for the taxpayers, not what is going on now.

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Piggles 2 years, 3 months ago

Guess will have to go to Topeka and KC to do my shopping.... nothing here in Lawrence no more. No K-Marts and now no Sears? Walmarts sucks, Target has nothing... Penney's ok but can find MORE stuff and variety in Topeka and KC. ANd then city people wonder why no shopping in Lawrence??? Why? There's NOTHING......

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Take_a_letter_Maria 2 years, 3 months ago

It might be interesting to see what the stance is on the K-Mart distribution center now that the company has no other presence in town.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Appliances:

Stoneback's ( Next door to The Merc) 925 Iowa St # A Lawrence (785) 843-4170

Craftsman Tools: Westlake Hardware

Kenmore Appliances - Sears Metcalf
Then again mergers and acqusitions took the Maytag name to the dump. The same could happen to the Kenmore name.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Kmart, founded as S.S. Kresge in Detroit in 1899, has long been strong in clothing and home accessories, and in recent years has added brands such as Thalia Sodi, Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer and Martha Stewart Everyday products.

Sears, which started selling watches through catalogs in 1886, later became best known for its Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances.

"with the goal of converting their customer experience into a world-class integrated retail experience.”

Sounds like BS to me...because

"Here’s the long and the short of it as we see it – the acquisition will work for the deal-makers in the short term. Lambert especially stands to make a lot of money by squeezing costs from the joint company. And yet more money by converting and selling stores. And yet more money by moving Kmart brands to Sears stores.

But don’t count on the company prospering in the long term. For Lambert isn’t an operating guy. He’s not about to solve the systemic problem causing declining sales in both Kmart and Sears stores. He’s not about to do battle. He’s not about to find a solution to shoppers’ confusion about the meaning of both brands – Kmart and Sears."

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 3 months ago

Wondered how long it would take the J/W. There was news of that closing among "inside circles'' over 4 days ago.

Could Olive Garden fit in that building and Red Lobster as well?

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DRsmith 2 years, 3 months ago

Too bad. Sears in Lawrence probably would have survived if it were in a mall.

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BruceWayne 2 years, 3 months ago

It is also sad that there will be another empty building in town. Speaking of, does anyone know what happened to Waterfront on east 23rd? Went out there last night to get a spa filter and it is gone. The building and parking lot empty, and the sign is gone.

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TikiLee 2 years, 3 months ago

Bummer. I always buy appliances from Sears, I have forever. Now I guess I'll do it online, or go to the one in Ottawa.

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Lenette Hamm 2 years, 3 months ago

Too bad - I like Sears and shop there often. But as it was already pointed out, the place is a ghost town most of the time... Sorry to hear they'll be closing, mostly because of the folks who work there. Tough times to be looking for a job.

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Norma Jeane Baker 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow! What a shock! Didn't see that coming.

/sarcasm off

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DillonBarnes 2 years, 3 months ago

No surprise here, that store is usually pretty empty.

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