As an iconic American retailer has filled for bankruptcy and announced it will be closing 142 retail stores in the upcoming months, it has created some confusion for shoppers in the UP. Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 on Monday, and a Copper Country retailer wants to let shoppers know that it will be unaffected by the filling.
“They have filed bankruptcy. It’s in no way connected to us. We are a complete separate company than them. We operate on our own. We do have some relationship with Sears, which has created a few sticky spots, but we’ll get through them and we are conducting business as usual,” said store co-owner Dan LaBeske.
Founded in 1886 as a mail order watch business, the Sears Roebuck Company began opening retail outlets in 1925 and remained the largest retailer in the United States until the 1990’s. “A Sears corporate store carries your soft goods and home furnishings and appliances and tools,” he said.
The corporation has had a hard time competing with retailers like Walmart and ecommerce sites like Amazon and eBay, but local store owners Dan and Gina LaBeske say their store is here to stay. Gina said, “We’ve owned this Sears Hometown for the last two years. Since we’ve owned it, we’ve been a top performing store. We always finish in the top ten for the year. We are consistently the premier store of our Sears Hometowns. There’s a total of 760 stores in the nation.”
Located in the Copper Country Mall, part of the local store’s success comes from old fashioned service. Dan said, “We recently converted to what’s called a “core store” which is a new format in Sears Hometown line. We concentrate on home appliances, tools, and lawn and garden. Back to the core of what Sears was in the beginning.”
Of the 142 corporate stores that will be closing, only two Michigan stores are on that list, both are located downstate, one in the metro Detroit area and the other in Ann Arbor, leaving both remaining UP Sears Hometown stores unaffected. “We’re here to serve you like we used to in the past. We’re the same store, same owners, and happy to help our customers with everything we can,” she said.