Sycamore Sears to convert to retail sales

By Dan Jacobsen

The Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Sycamore has been chosen recently as one of the many catalog stores nationwide to be converted to a retail store.

Owner Gregory Lindsay said the change is not only good for himself but for his employees as well. The news comes as a relief to Lindsay because of the store, located at 2692 DeKalb Ave., could have been closed down if it had not been chosen to be converted.

“We’re not going to become a big employer now, unless Sears decides to move a full-blown outlet store into town,” Lindsay said.

“We are trying to alleviate the need to go to a big mall to get the products that people need,” he said. “There are a lot of people who would like us to include clothing in our selection, but we don’t plan to.”

Lindsay said the change is going to have a positive effect on the community. “We are going to see a lot more aggressive retailing going on this area,” he said. “So far the competition in this area is good, but if a community loses an outlet (for merchandise), it has an effect on the competition.”

Although the store will not change its merchandise, other areas will be affected. “We are planning on expanding the lines of what we already carry,” Lindsay said. “For example, we might have 20 refrigerators in stock at the store now. That could change to 35 without changing brands.”

Lindsay gave credit to the many factors which contributed to the store being chosen for conversion. On Jan. 25, when Sears announced it would be closing all of its catalog stores, there was strong customer response, he said.

“Two or three customers asked me why I didn’t start a petition to keep the store open,” Lindsay said. “We put one out by the register and left it for the customers to do whatever they wanted to with it.”

He said the petitions received many signatures and were sent to Sears executives. While the petitions must have had some impact on the decision, the main reason behind the choice was probably the store’s productive business, he said.

“The petition was not even my bright idea,” he said. “It was heartening to see people come up to sign it to keep us open, but I think the main reason was that the people have supported us with business for a number of years.”

Lindsay also acknowledged his employees’ performances as a contributing factor. “Our past performance has compared favorably with other stores. I have to give credit to the way the store was run,” he said.