Thread Number: 72412  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Anyone else flashing back to when there was a Sears Catalog Store in every Smalltown, USA?
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Post# 956912   9/10/2017 at 10:25 (280 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        

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"Nordstrom Tries On a New Look: Stores Without Merchandise"


Post# 956933 , Reply# 1   9/10/2017 at 12:39 (280 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

Yes, in small towns and rural areas. You could see merchandise samples, place an order, then Sears delivered to your house. They also had mail order catalogs, with which you could place orders by phone or mail. I remember once needing a winter coat for a trip to NY (while living in CA) and the San Diego stores didn't carry such an item. We got it from Sears, free shipping, and if we didn't like it, it could be returned to the San Diego Sear store (which did not bother to carry winter coats).

Post# 956960 , Reply# 2   9/10/2017 at 16:55 (280 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Oh, yes. Generally located on or just off the square in small southern towns and with a washer and dryer in the window. I remember people going into them to order from the catalog and then to pick up said items.

Post# 957086 , Reply# 3   9/11/2017 at 07:23 (279 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Absolutely! This little village had a catalog store when I moved here in 1986. Don't recall exactly when it closed--very early 1990s, maybe?

I think we'll see more of these 'little-or-no merchandise' stores.

Post# 957107 , Reply# 4   9/11/2017 at 10:49 (279 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
As late as the 1980s . . .

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. . . when we would spend the night in Bishop, California on the way to Lake Tahoe, there was a Sears Catalog Store in town.  Didn't pay attention to when it closed for good.

Post# 957108 , Reply# 5   9/11/2017 at 10:55 (279 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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When I first moved out on my own I lived in Petaluma, Ca, which in 1970 was still a fairly small town. We had a Sears Catalog Store on Petaluma Blvd N. that was really just a store front. I made my very first credit purchase at that store, buying a 10" Silvertone color TV, the payments were $6.00 a month and I faithfully went into the store every month to make them in person. A year later I bought a stereo to go with the TV. bringing my monthly payment up to $7.50. Sears gave me my start to having a credit history when I was 19 yrs old.

Post# 957109 , Reply# 6   9/11/2017 at 10:55 (279 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
And could this signal the return of . . .

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. . . major appliance showrooms, like the ones that exclusively featured Hotpoint when it was GE's top-of-the-line upscale brand?  A sprinkling of models up and down the range to compare features, a well-trained staff to answer questions about absent models, and delivery from a remote warehouse with professional installation.


Not too hard to imagine a modestly sized Kenmore Appliance Center by Amazon downtown in the future, eh?

Post# 957162 , Reply# 7   9/11/2017 at 18:57 (279 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The town I live in had a Sears Catalog Merchant Store for several years. It opened sometime around 1970, and closed sometime in the 80's. My mom's friend Faye owned it starting about '75 or so, and I worked there occasionally in '75 - '76 helping check things in when the truck came. The store wasn't very big, and it was mainly a couple models of washers & dryers, a refrigerator and a range on display. It didn't stay around long after the Eastgate Mall opened about 20 miles away in 1980, which has a large Sears store.

Post# 957166 , Reply# 8   9/11/2017 at 19:28 (279 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Sears Catalog shut down in 1992...I worked with a woman at the time who was laid off from them in that era. Montgomery Ward catalog shut down about 5 years earlier.

Post# 957201 , Reply# 9   9/12/2017 at 05:18 (278 days old) by iej (Ireland)        
Catalogue shopping on steroids

Online retail is basically just catalogue shopping in most respects, other than it's far more interactive.

I think Sears and similar stores are just floundering and flailing about, looking for ways to stay relevant.
The only way I see those kinds of stores surviving is if the make retail an experience. Utilitarian and a lot of niche shopping is rapidly going online but there's still a lot that real bricks and mortar stores can offer, if they understand hedonistic, experience-seeking shoppers.

The way I see retail in 20 years time is probably more like a blend of high end, showcasing, service centres all blended with entertainment. Somewhere between the Apple Store and a high end European City Centre perhaps delivered in a mall context in most of the US because makes will have to change.

It's worth remembering though that is you go back to pre 1950s, most retail was small, personalised and counter based. We are definitely about to see a shift that's as big as the 1950s shift to self service supermarkets and malls.

There's going to be a lot of idle retail space though as the new retail economy isn't going to need all that floor space anymore.

Post# 957227 , Reply# 10   9/12/2017 at 09:04 (278 days old) by JoeEkaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
So, was Best Products way ahead of their time?

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Jus' sayin'.

Post# 957251 , Reply# 11   9/12/2017 at 13:48 (278 days old) by rpms (ontario canada)        

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In my small area every town had a Sears order office.
The one in town closed a few years back and Sears would put a depot in any store that would take it. At one time it was in our local grocery store,the back of the thrift store and a Quickie Mart.
The closest one to me now is a 17 minute rural dive. The last couple of years you could still do C.O.D orders.
If you did do that the one lady that worked in the store would hold the store's float for 24 in case you wanted to return something. After that you were screwed if it was over $50. You would have to wait till they had enough cash in the till or drive an hour to the closest Sears department store.
The last order I put in was two years ago and it had to be on a credit card. Last Christmas the final catalouge came out. It was a shame Christmas catlouge.
No electronics,appliances and a lousy selection of toys.
If you order online from here I have no idea where you would pick your stuff up? It might come to the door or the post office.

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