SODO Sears closure means changes for West Seattle Rotary Club’s annual Children’s Shopping Spree

February 24, 2014 at 9:27 pm | In Rotary Club of West Seattle, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

(WSB photo from December 2012 Rotary Children’s Shopping Spree)
The impending closure of the historic Sears store in SODO (reported by The Seattle Times [WSB partner] Friday) has a West Seattle effect: The Rotary Club of West Seattle suddenly finds itself trying to figure out the future of its Children’s Holiday Shopping Spree, the club’s signature project for more than 40 years. Every year on the first Saturday in December, Rotarians and a volunteer force of hundreds have brought ~100 local kids to the store for a practical-yet-fun shopping event that also includes breakfast and lunch in the same building, as well as Santa photos and holiday songs. So when we heard about the closure news over the weekend, we sought out Rotary reaction; today, club spokesperson Dave Nichols tells WSB, “Our leadership was informed by the folks at Sears. We are gathering facts and options; our goal is to figure out a way to continue to serve our community as we always have.” According to the Times story, 79 people will lose their jobs when the store and the nearby Sears Auto Center close in June. There’s no word yet of another tenant for the space in the building, which is owned by Nitze-Stagen & Co.

26 Comments

  1. Wow. So sad to hear of that Sears location closing! Although admittedly, I haven’t been there for years.

    .

    As much as I appreciate how Starbucks restored the exterior of the building, it was always the “Sears Building” to me, even as Sears’ square footage got smaller and smaller.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:34 pm February 24, 2014 #

  2. Hopefully the workers will be able to find quick transitions to new jobs near by. Luckily our economy in Seattle is booming and even retail stores are hiring with the uptick in demand.

    Comment by Mike — 11:07 pm February 24, 2014 #

  3. I agree, sad to see the sears go. I also didn’t shop there regularly, but liked knowing it was there when needed. I don’t agree with’ mike, don’t see how you can say “Economy in Seattle is booming” “with the uptick in demand”. Give me a break, where have you been living?

    Comment by Sparkybo — 2:22 am February 25, 2014 #

  4. Blame it to some degree on Metro Bus no longer running a 1st Ave route in a practical manner from West Seattle (yes, detractor, you can twist the routes\ideas, go ahead). Obviously, a small tick in the overall decades long “rough-patch” for Sears, but my observation stands. No infrastructure, no business. Before you get started, think about the process and outcomes of civil planning in Seattle. Huge problem.

    Comment by Admiral935 — 3:25 am February 25, 2014 #

  5. Oh, do not want to lose Sodo Sears. Many years of memories & our “go to” place. We wish all the employees the best and thanks for all the great service over the years.

    Comment by Bee — 5:35 am February 25, 2014 #

  6. what?! why is sears closing…thats so sad…i remember going there as a child…even currently. Even if smaller….so sad to things go like that. I hope they dont ruin that building….sigh

    Comment by ca — 6:45 am February 25, 2014 #

  7. Admiral935, the 21 from West Seattle stops at the same intersection where the Sears store is located and it runs every 15 minutes. Not sure what you expect Metro to do in this situation, pull into the store and drop people off by the elevator?

    Comment by Paul — 8:27 am February 25, 2014 #

  8. It is really interesting how the gap between our emotions about a traditional store and our own search for convenience in the end turned against SEARS. They have to deal with their nationwide decline, not only in Sodo.
    Some commenters on KOMO understood “they might be part of the problem”, because even when they had very fine memories of the past Sodo SEARS store, still they did not attend it for several years. It was to unconvenient.
    I went there only once and felt totally unwelcome. So they were off my list forever. The crushing reviews on the store (and especially on their auto center) today confirmed that. Maybe the employees had already given up?
    Nevertheless this might be a moment to think about our daily shopping routine and not get lured into the AMAZON universe totally thoughtless.
    I like AMAZON, no question. But SEARS made me think: what would I like to look the junction in ten years? Do I care? Or is all this an inevitable change towards a flooding with more and more convenient chain stores with exchangeable aluminum store fronts?

    Comment by just thinking — 8:47 am February 25, 2014 #

  9. It’s been a slow long decline, but they made it all the way to the bottom. For me the disappointment came when I realized their tools had gone from first class Craftsman to what tradesmen started calling crapsmen.

    Comment by dsa — 9:14 am February 25, 2014 #

  10. justthinking-good question about what The Junction might look like -not just in 10 years-but soon? Many of the new condo/apartment/studio/work-loft spaces are nearing completion-with more on the way. All tout the catch phrase “retail space on ground floor”.
    I will be interested to see-just what kind of retail will be going in those spaces. Hopefully businesses that will entice shoppers & bring even more vibrancy to our retail core.

    Comment by Anne — 9:49 am February 25, 2014 #

  11. Very true dsa

    Comment by Vanilla Gorilla — 10:43 am February 25, 2014 #

  12. Maybe sears could move in at the westwood safeway location

    Comment by boy — 10:59 am February 25, 2014 #

  13. Be sure to read the Seattle Times article, this store has been doomed since the decision was made to only have Sears in malls and discontinued the catalog. Lander Sears has been an outlet for the other stores, never full service since that time.

    Long gone things I miss?
    Candy and nut counter.
    Toys.
    The weird basement discount area.
    The lunch room.
    The record and tape department.
    The fish and small fur creatures running on wheels in the pet area.

    But in the present I would have very little interest in shopping there if these still existed. Unless it was a retro toy department.

    Comment by gina — 11:32 am February 25, 2014 #

  14. Sad. I have to say due to difficulty getting up and down that area we no longer shopped there much. There are other good things to visit down there too. I hope the other businesses are not suffering also.

    Comment by cj — 11:46 am February 25, 2014 #

  15. My mom and dad met each other while working at this Sears store in 1960…..I guess in a way, I owe my life to this store……I think they will both be sad to know this place will be no more….

    Comment by dancing kat — 1:51 pm February 25, 2014 #

  16. Huh, shame, I still shop there frequently for tools. Will miss it. Home depot doesn’t offer much of equivalence for what I need.

    Comment by themightrabbit — 2:30 pm February 25, 2014 #

  17. I will always have fond memories of Sears on Lander, from going there as a child up until buying a pair of jeans there last Saturday. Over the past few years I got some great deals there and I will miss the ambiance and charm of the building.

    .

    I am probably the only who thinks so, but I find the picture used with the article is very poignant.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 4:40 pm February 25, 2014 #

  18. Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances are much better than Home Depot brands. I’ve used Shop Your Way Rewards for a few years and have gotten great deals at Sears.

    Comment by Wes Cider — 6:42 pm February 25, 2014 #

  19. dancing kat, your comment reminded me, and made me realize, that I’m around because of that Sears store as well.

    .

    Apparently, my Parents met through my Dad’s Sister, and my Mom, working together in the Catalog Dept, I believe.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 6:48 pm February 25, 2014 #

  20. It’s so sad. I shopped at that Sears often – there’s plenty of parking, and you don’t have to run the gamut of a mall to get in and get out.

    In fact, we were just in there last week to buy a new washer/dryer, and the clerk – who we have bought many appliances from over the years – said that they were hopeful that the store would continue to operate, but said that Starbucks had been pressuring them to clear out.

    The people who will miss the store the most will probably be the many ESL customers who shop there. Where will they go now?

    Comment by roebuck — 8:15 pm February 25, 2014 #

  21. My Grandfather retired from sears (that very store) after 42 years of faithful service, having never gone on strike as there was never a need. My dad retired after 37 years of faithful service each of them had a great retirement bought to you be a company that took care of the employees that took care of the company. My Dad said the strangest feeling was having gone out on strike because of the company balancing the bottom line on the backs of the faithful employee was walking the picket line on the outside looking in. Sears has been in a slow burn to the bottom for a long time. Thankful the 50year old cold spot Kenmore refrigerator now being used as a beer cooler will never wear.

    Comment by kc — 9:25 pm February 25, 2014 #

  22. KC – FIFTY-year-old fridge? Wow! We have a GE that we bought new when we bought our house 21 years ago, and I thought *that* was going on some kind of longevity record…

    Comment by WSB — 9:45 pm February 25, 2014 #

  23. I’m sad to see them go, however shopping in that location is depressing. The displays are just piles of stuff packed into too little space, most of the departments are messy, and the racks haven’t been updated in decades. I hope Sears makes it as a company, but I’d long since moved to the Southcenter store over this one.

    Comment by Chris — 11:04 pm February 25, 2014 #

  24. we all saw that one coming..greedy little Starbucks!

    Comment by rachel — 2:23 pm February 26, 2014 #

  25. Starbucks has nothing to do with it. The company’s owner, as listed in the story, is Nitze-Stagen. The Times quotes Starbucks as saying it has no interest in taking over the suddenly vacant space.

    Comment by WSB — 2:35 pm February 26, 2014 #

  26. I shop here as often as I can! I treasure this location !! Can’t believe it is closing…..Not sure who my next favorite Xmas shopping place will now be!!
    :(

    I LOVE this Sears!!!!

    Comment by Tina — 7:26 pm February 26, 2014 #

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