Thread Number: 72950  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
What Sears used to make me think of
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Post# 963691   10/21/2017 at 16:41 (366 days old) by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Having grown up, looking at the Sears catalogs one could learn so much about so many things. BUT for some reason I always thought of Sears as high end. For some reason Home Alone always reminded me of Sears because I think the house was in Chicago. But I always thought of the appliances as being Lady Kenmore for some reason even though they were actually Frigidaire.

I also thought of Katherine's mansion having everything from Sears, because the pictures of things in the catalogs made me think of her brick house with that 6 panel front door with glass on each side. And for some other reason, I thought of her house being out in the middle of a farm in one of the plains states like Iowa but I guess I wasn't too far off from IL.

Did anyone else have any fantasies of other department stores?

We had some Montgomery Ward appliances, but I don't recall ever going there as a kid. Although really I don't recall going into a Sears much for that matter, mostly just going to the small one in our town that only sold tools and appliances. That was my favorite store back then. I do have a very vague memory of sitting in a department store Sears waiting for something, while looking at the appliances in the sales circular.

Post# 963701 , Reply# 1   10/21/2017 at 17:10 (366 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

I remember the Sears on Ponce de Leon in Atlanta. I liked to go in the door where the candy counter was and get a bag of freshly roasted nuts, the fragrance perfumed the store. I remember waiting on the stoop out front for my Father to pick us up and watching the electric trolleys go past,sparks flying overhead. The Atlanta Crackers used to play baseball in a field across the street and sometimes I would wander over after a game to see what was new.
And, the very patient salesmen in the appliance department who allowed me to learn about Kenmore appliances.

When I got older, I used to ride my bicycle up to the Colonial Store parking lot and watch them building the Sears on Peachtree/Paces Ferry. Sadly, once it opened I don't think I ever went back to the store on Ponce.

Post# 963718 , Reply# 2   10/21/2017 at 18:50 (366 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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A good friend of my family was Appliance Manager in our local Sears store. We always could get great deals on repossessed or scratch and dent models. He would chase me out when I would switch the Lady K Wringer with poker chips to normal speed. He sold me my 70 something Lady K dishwasher for $100 instead of the $300 it would have cost if perfect. Been along time since I have been to a Sears now.

Post# 963743 , Reply# 3   10/21/2017 at 21:59 (366 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Sears to me back in the day was school clothes, seasonal Christmas toys dept., and visiting the appliance dept (we never had anything Kenmore in the house).

Post# 963744 , Reply# 4   10/21/2017 at 22:11 (366 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Houston Shopping

My parents never shopped at Sears. We had the appliance store down here south of Houston but we didn't get a full store until I was grown and moved away, when Brazos Mall was built. When I moved to Houston in 1974, the biggest Sears in Houston was on Main just south of downtown. I went in there a few times as I worked in a hospital downtown, but I never got in the habit, either. I did have friends when growing up whose parents did buy out of Sears.

As for other department stores, we had Foley's in Houston, now absorbed in to Macy's, and Joske's, now absorbed in to Dillards. We also had Sakowitz, which was an upscale clothing/jewelry type department store rather like Nieman-Marcus. The town in which I grew up only had 10K people, and we were less than an hour from Houston, so my parents shopped there a lot. The main downtown Foley's was 9 floors plus the basement. I spent so much time there that I can remember well what was on each floor and what it looked like. In fact, I bought my first washer/dryer/dishwasher set from them, GE Filter-Flo, on the 9th floor. Toys took up almost all the 4th floor. By the time I was in elementary school, the 8th floor was my favorite, having books, photography, and small appliances.

That store opened in downtown Houston in 1947 and was torn down just a couple of years ago. Joske's moved from its downtown multi-floor building to the first Houston mall, Gulfgate, in the late 50's. It was one of those malls that was open air in the middle of the mall until they roofed it over in the 60's.

Sakowitz was multi-floor, right across the street from Foley's. My parents bought clothes there and I didn't like going because they didn't have kid stuff like a toy floor.

One of the things I enjoyed about downtown Foley's was eating there. They had the Azalea Terrace on the 5th floor, with table serve and cloth, and in the basement there was a deli-type restaurant, and then in the late 60's they opened a really cool cafeteria down there.

If any of you are interested, there's a really neat site,, that is a tribute to these huge department stores like Foley's was in Houston. They even have the store directory, floor by floor, for our Foley's.

Does anyone else here remember when store credit cards were those little metal things that looked rather like dog tags? I know my parents had that kind for Foley, Joske's and Sakowitz until some time in the 60's.

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Post# 963751 , Reply# 5   10/21/2017 at 22:44 (366 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        
Birmingham, Alabama

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My mother's mother worked at Sears downtown from about 1954 until 1972, when she retired.  She worked in 'Unit Control', upstairs, and I thought it was so cool when we'd go to Birmingham to visit that we'd stop by the store and go see her.  It made me feel special that 1) I knew there was an upper level office area and 2) I had a reason to go up there.  Unit Control ordered inventory for the store and each of the ladies who worked in that office was assigned particular departments.  I don't remember Granny having any exotic departments, except for maybe Paints - certainly not Furniture or Appliances - now THAT would have been cool.


At Christmas there was always a large model train display set up in the Toy Department and that was fun to get to see.  I, too, remember the candy department and the smells of the store.  And I grew up hearing the names of all the other ladies she worked with (she and one or two other women rode with Dot Canant daily in her Buick) and the department heads.


My family endorsed Sears appliances and most other departments, but not electronics.  Dad had a very sour opinion of their Silvertone label; don't remember why.  Later, Sears opened a Catalog Sales store in Smyrna (Belmont Hills Shopping Center) and Dad liked to browse through the store because they always had scratch-and-dent merchandise, which was totally up his alley.



Post# 963752 , Reply# 6   10/21/2017 at 22:59 (366 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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It's sort of funny, but our house when I was growing up had lots of stuff from Sears, and yet we almost never shopped there. The washer/dryer were from Sears, and had been bought there by my parents before I was born. The rest of the stuff was bought by some previous family that lived in the house, and included a portable dishwasher, a water heater, and an oil furnace.


I have a vague recollection that my parents found the local Sears store less than ideal for whatever reason. Later, a better store was opened in the local mall, but we seldom went near the place. My mother had certain stores she liked by that time. Also I have to half wonder if she didn't have a bit of bias against Sears. During her childhood, it was probably was either Sears, or It Didn't Exist.


Post# 963774 , Reply# 7   10/22/2017 at 00:17 (366 days old) by mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Loved the old department stores! You could find anything there, including a good cup of coffee or lunch. Really miss the Christmas Window Displays, that was something!! Easter too.

Post# 963839 , Reply# 8   10/22/2017 at 09:46 (365 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
JL Hudson's

used to have the entire top floor as a Christmas fantasy land at the old downtown store. Imploded in about 1997. I think the site is going to be the new Little Caesars headquarters.

Post# 963854 , Reply# 9   10/22/2017 at 11:20 (365 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

I grew up at the opposite end of Alabama from pulltostart. Sears only had a catalog sales store here until they opened in the then-new Heart of Huntsville mall in 1961. At the time it was the best example in town of that now-deceased breed, the whole-family department store. I think about the only major category of dry goods it didn't carry was furniture. It had a garden center and there was even an Olan Mills attached.

I remember doing a lot of shopping at Sears. Our washer and dryer were Kenmores; Dad's tools were Craftsman, and the lawn mower was whatever name Sears used for those (Homart?) The stove and fridge, which were both GE (a locally owned company was their dealer here). But Sears carried parts for a lot of different brands. It was the place to go for parts. I remember my dad taking me down there to get a replacement for the bake element in the oven, which had burned out. I think I was 4 years old at the time. I remember him explaining how heating elements worked, and showing me where the element plugged into the socket in the back of the oven -- until this happened, I had not realized that the elements were removable.

My dad did share the negative opinion of Sears' Silvertone electronics. He preferred Zenith, so we had a Zenith TV and console stereo. They came from a department store in town called Miracle City. I'm not sure if this was part of a change or something locally owned; I've never heard of one anywhere else. He had an Motorola All American Five AM radio, and a shortwave radio that he built from a kit. (I don't think it was a Heathkit; maybe it was from Allied.) He built several other things from kits including a Heathkit vacuum-tube voltmeter that I recall.

We had two window air conditioners. RCA Whirlpool actually had a retail store here, and one of the air conditioners came from there. The other one was a Coldspot, I think; it was pretty old even when I was young.

The Parkway City shopping center had a Montgomery Ward. I don't recall shopping much there. I know my dad distrusted their appliances, and my mom regarding their clothing as cheap. There were two regionally owned department stores in the malls, Dunnavant's and Pizitz. The latter sold out to McRae's around 1980. The other department stores were still downtown in the early '60s: J.C. Penny, Belk Hudson, Kress. When a new shopping center (called presumptuously "The Mall") opened in 1966, Penny's move out there, plus a Loveman's opened there. Belk closed around 1970 and didn't return to town until many years later. I don't recall anything about the Kress; until a few years ago, when they took an add-on facade off of the building and exposed the old Kress logo, I didn't even remember where it was.

Post# 963879 , Reply# 10   10/22/2017 at 14:00 (365 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I remember when charge plated were embossed metal and then when they changed over to embossed plastic.

Post# 964158 , Reply# 11   10/24/2017 at 15:36 (363 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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In this neck of the woods, Sears was partnered with a big Canadian retailer by the name of Simpsons from the mid 50s until the mid 70s (Simpsons eventually got taken over by the Hudson's Bay Company).  I remember in 1974 or 1975 a huge new mall was built in Ville St-Laurent, which was pretty much halfway between where we lived and downtown Montreal, and they had a brand-new Sears store.  Not Simpsons-Sears, just Sears.  I remember how packed that store always seemed to be - during the Christmas shopping frenzy, I swear you could get swept up by the crowds in that store so that you'd never get to where you wanted to go!  


It wasn't a huge store, but it did have 2 floors.  The Kenmore appliances, electronics, housewares, and tools were all up on the 2nd floor (and that's where I lurked... LOL).  I remember they had displays of all the various Kenmore washers, dryers and dishwashers offered.   I remember buying a lot of clothes there, too.  I was the 'perfect fit' for most of the shirts, jeans, and semi-formal clothing they sold off the rack.  Oh, those were the days.... 


Better still, towards the late 70s, a liquidation centre opened in the basement of the enormous warehouse just behind that mall in St-Laurent.  My father lived there, I swear.   We got some incredible deals on close-out items and more than a few "scratch & dent" appliances.  I actually still have my very first microwave oven that I bought at that clearance centre in 1986.  It was brand-new, in the box, but it was marked down because the model was being discontinued.  And yes, it still works!  

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