Sears store returns to Camellia City

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2005

In 1886, when there were only 38 United States, a Chicago jewelry company shipped some gold-filled watches to an unsuspecting jeweler in a Minnesota town thus starting a chain of events that led to the founding of Sears and Roebuck.

Officially formed in 1893, Sears, Roebuck and Co., has prided itself on community, now, 112 years later, Greenville residents will be able to find venerable brands such as Craftsman, Kenmore and Maytag for sale at a new Sears Authorized Retail Dealer store in Greenville.

The 12,500 sq. foot store with 5,500 sq. feet of sales space will be located in Butler Square, next to Goody's Family Clothing and the owners, Larry and Wes Hines plan a mid-November opening.

&#8220We're actually going to carry in the store the top six appliance brands as well as Craftsman lawn and garden equipment and Craftsman tools,” said Wes Hines. &#8220We'll also have a full line of electronics including HD T.V.'s and exercise equipment.”

Wes Hines, who has moved his family to Greenville to run the store, said he can tell already he made the right move in choosing Greenville to open a Sears dealer store and with Sears' history and brand loyalty he expects the partnership will be a winner.

&#8220When you say Craftsman and Kenmore, people know what you're talking about,” he said. &#8220We've been really impressed from how we've been received by the people we've met. We're looking forward to it. Greenville seems to be a great place.”

In addition to selling Sears' merchandise, the store will also be a location where people can pick up items they order via Sears' website and Hines said they will service what they sell.

&#8220Sears has a service person that comes in and provides service on what we sell,” he said. &#8220And we'll also be able to ship items off for repair too.”

Started in 1993, the concept of Sears Authorized Retail Dealer stores has taken off with 818 being operated in small towns all across America.

&#8220What it does is it promotes convenience for the customer in small town America so they don't have to go to the big city to go to malls,” said John Quick, New Market Development Manager for Sears. &#8220With the price of gas at $3 per gallon our customers appreciate it.”

Quick said the prices in the dealer stores are the same as those found in larger, mall-based stores and that it's the connection with the community that has made this aspect of Sears a success.

&#8220I think it's nice to put the emphasis on that local ownership,” said Quick of the Hines' ownership of the Greenville store. That's what makes us grow small town America is that community relationship. Greenville is a neat town. It's one of my favorite places in Alabama. Quite frankly I think it's one of the best kept secrets in the state. We do market research and it does meet our demographic for a small town application. It certainly is a growth area.”

CVS Pharmacy Photo Technician Frances Seale is definitely looking forward to Sears returning to Greenville.

&#8220I think it's great. I used to shop at Sears a lot,” she said.

&#8220If my husband was still alive, he'd be jumping up and down. He just loved Sears.”

The store will be open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Angie Long contributed to this story.