Shoppers picked through the last of the inventory at the Kelso Sears store Sunday as the Three Rivers Mall bid farewell to an anchor tenant.
“Yes, it’s sad. I like Sears. They’re a good store,” Vivian Miles, a retired Longview landscaper, said as she sifted through the clothing racks.
In October, Chicago-based Sears Holdings announced the Kelso store was one of 173 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide that would close in 2013. The struggling retailer has been looking to cut costs since reporting a $3.1 billion loss in 2011.
Sears was one of the Three Rivers Mall’s original four anchor tenants when it opened in 1987 on the site of the former Elks golf course. At 52,659 square feet, Sears was the largest store in the mall. The closure, along with the loss of the Emporium in 2003, leaves Three Rivers Mall with two anchor tenants: Macy’s and J.C. Penney.
On Sunday, discounts as high as 90 percent lured hundreds of shoppers to pick over the remaining items. By mid-afternoon, most of the store was empty except for a cluster of clothing racks near the mall entrance and a smattering of appliances and hardware tucked in the back.
Kenny Skeie’s cart was overflowing with packages of nuts and bolts, dryer cords and other assorted items that he said he may or may not need.
“I probably don’t need anything now. I’ve got everything I’ll ever want,” said Skeie, a Longview retiree.
Skeie and fellow shoppers expressed disappointment at losing Sears.
Miles, the retired landscaper, said she used to buy all her tools at the Sears, often coming to the store a couple times per month. She said she’s not sure where she will shop now.
Danyel and Alexandria Rider of Winlock and Jonathan Gilliam of Castle Rock said they like to stop at the mall whenever they come to town, and they’ll often browse through Sears. On Sunday, the Rider girls were overjoyed spending $6 for five pairs of high-heeled shoes worth nearly $500, but they said they’ll miss coming to Sears.
“They always have nice-looking stuff,” Danyel Rider said.