Sears will be closing its two oldest Austin stores – in Hancock Center and at Barton Creek Square Mall – as part of a bankruptcy filing announced Monday.
In 1963, Sears built what was then-called the Sears-Hancock Center on half of the old Austin Country Club golf course. In the ensuing decades, the store influenced the home goods, fashion and life choices of Austinites.
“I actually worked here many, many, many moons ago, just part-time to get me through school,” shopper Nora Lopez said Monday. “I actually met my son’s father here. So, there’s a lot behind this store. It’s something that has played a part in my life. So, yeah, it makes me really sad that it’s closing.”
She says she doesn’t shop at Sears much anymore, but the news got her feeling a little nostalgic.
“We used to open up the [Sears] catalog before Christmas and wish we had all the toys,” she said. “I don’t know if kids do that anymore. They’re stuck staring at their phones all day long. They wish for different things than just something as simple as looking into a catalog.”
Sears says it hopes to emerge through the Chapter 11 filing leaner and better able to compete with Amazon and Walmart.
There is no final date yet for the two stores to liquidate. Their closing means the end of Sears' brick-and-mortar department stores in Austin. The Lakeline Mall location closed last month, more than three months after Sears first announced it would close.