Everything must go as the closing sale continues at the Melbourne Sears store! Jumping now into part 3 of my four part series on the closing of this store, things are going to start looking much more like a closing now than we saw last time...
1050 S. Babcock St., Melbourne, FL
This Sears store opened in 1968, coinciding with the opening of the neighboring (now dead) Brevard Mall, which featured Montgomery Ward and JCPenney as its anchors (more on that here, though). In 2015, this store was sold to Seritage Properties as part of SHC's controversial REIT deal, which is typically not a good sign for the long-term future of a Sears or Kmart store. Even with that being the case, this Sears location was supposedly a "Top 200" store from what a few employees told me, citing this Sears location had particularly strong sales in clothing. As usual, Eddie doesn't care about any of that, and this Sears store was marked for closure during SHC's initial bankruptcy filing in October 2018. Liquidation sales had begun here in late October 2018, with the store closing for good on January 6, 2019 at 1:45pm.
Saturday, December 29, 2018 - Approximately 5:00pm: Returning to the Melbourne Sears store once again, we're jumping ahead six weeks from where my photos last left off. That may seem like a lot of time I had left to pass, but I wanted to begin the next portion of this series from where this closing really felt like a closing. In that span of six weeks I'd popped into this store a few times to walk around and check out the fixtures, but I was waiting for the right opportunity to take my next round of photos. The Christmas season now behind us, I figured this late December evening would be a nice chance pick up where I had left off, as the closing of the Melbourne Sears store continues...
Getting ready to head inside once again, here we can see the countdown to the end is on...only 9 days left here according to the sign.
Heading through the main entrance and turning to the right, here we find some large swaths of emptiness in what was formerly the women's clothing department. Yep, this sure looks much more like a closing now, the merchandise selection rapidly dwindling...
One of the store's side entrances is clearly visible from this perspective now, helped by the fact that the women's clothing has been consolidated to a small area immediately surrounding the front doors.
Next to that side entrance, we have our first decent look at the little space that was once home to the Optical department. In the last few posts from here we saw the signage for this space, but this is our first look at the Optical box itself. At this point well into the closing, the Optical department had been cleared out and chained off.
Returning to the main aisle, we find more emptiness as the side of the jewelry counter tries to peek out from the left side of this photo. That too was rather empty when I walked by it.
And not only was the jewelry counter mostly empty, most of the counter itself had been sold off too.
Continuing our theme of emptiness, here's a look into the empty portion of the men's clothing department. What was left of the men's clothing had been consolidated into the section just out of frame to my left.
As usual, plenty of store closing signage was taped to the windows, just like we see here at the men's clothing side entrance.
The empty cubbies made for an interesting sight in the men's department. The jeans used to be placed in these cubbies.
Moving back to the main aisle, we can see what was left of the men's clothing selection from this perspective.
The children's clothing selection was fairly thin too, but seemed to be one of the fuller departments left in this store with 9 days to go. Some of the fixtures sale area had begun to creep into this part of the store too, those empty racks to my left being part of the fixture sale.
Leaving the children's clothing department, here's a look back toward the main entrance, around which most of the remaining merchandise was consolidated.
There were a few pairs of shoes left in the aisles to my left, but the aisles by the door were completely empty.
It was slim pickings in the housewares department as well, with all the remaining housewares condensed to the endcaps on the main aisle. The fixture sale also began to encroach on this area as well, with that visible to my left.
Turning around, here's a better look at how the small appliance, furniture, and mattress department had been turned into a home for fixture sales. The fixture sale also continued back into the hardware department. They really had a lot of fixtures to sell off here. Most of that stuff was large fixtures and other things I didn't need, but I was able to dig myself out a few small souvenirs over the course of this closing. However, I'll talk more about the stuff I found in my next and final post about this store.
Even with the fixtures sale taking up most of the former mattress department, a few display mattresses were still available for sale. Those mattresses were all shoved into this part of the department, near the aisle that cuts across to children's and men's clothing.
Here's a better look at the fixture sale that was going on. At this point in the closing, I think there were more fixtures for sale than actual merchandise! Anyway, that old desk to my left looks interesting. You never know what gets left behind in these old desks, so why not open the drawers and poke around inside of it?
To be honest, I don't remember exactly what desks I found these two papers in. They came from two different desks, and there were at least 10 desks for sale scattered throughout the fixture department. The first relic I found inside the desks I poked through was this telephone directory, listing the extensions for all the different departments, as well as the phone numbers for some other Sears services. This directory was relatively modern though, probably made within the last decade to reflect the phone system in this store in its final years. However, this next item I found in a desk lives up to the name of "relic" much better:
Moving along to a different desk, it's yet another telephone directory - this one being much, much older than the last one we saw though. I really hope that no one was using this directory in recent times, as the extension numbers, while similar, don't quite match up with the extensions mentioned on the modern directory. For example, if you wanted the assistant manager, this directory says to dial 203. On the modern directory, dialing extension 203 would have gotten you the Merritt Island store! For an idea of how old this directory is, it references the Cocoa Sears as one of the nearby stores. The Cocoa Sears relocated to Merritt Island in 1989, although I feel this sheet is probably much older than that.
Clearly, winning an award for increased sales and profits won't save a store from closure - these awards just became one more thing to drag out for the fixture sale.
Behind the old mattress department was this little room. I don't know if this room served any particular purpose, but it did contain an emergency exit complete with a Sears logo.
Heading into the hardware department, here's one last overview looking back into the fixture sales area.
Entering the hardware department, the old H&R Block and hearing aid center become visible once again. To my left and inside the old H&R Block/hearing aid spaces were yet more fixtures - certainly no shortage of those here.
The hardware department was quite empty by this time in the closure process. There were some random large items and a few thin aisles of hand tools left, but the selection was certainly picked over.
The seasonal and sporting goods department had been reduced to nothing more than three ladders for sale.
Leaving the seasonal and sporting goods department behind us, we'll take this time to stroll through the little corridor into appliances and back around to the fixture sale. However unlike the song in the background of the video says, I don't think there is a remedy for Sears...
Turning around from where that video ended, here we have a view looking back into the appliance department. I like the way the perspective of this photo turned out.
Moving along into the appliance department, what was left of the merchandise was consolidated into the part of the department where I was standing for this photo. The merchandise remaining consisted mainly of display appliances, with what little backstock that remained being dragged out into empty portions of the sales floor. Going further toward the wall and the old exterior entrance, the appliance department turned into a holding area for fixtures that had already been purchased.
The fixtures holding area was roped off, but I was able to get a few photos of this portion of the store from the other side of the rope.
Heading back toward the men's clothing department, here's another look toward the fixture holding area.
I think this photo is a pretty good summary of what a closing sale is all about...
Before leaving this store, here's one last look at the merchandise that remained in the front portion of the building. As we've seen from this tour, the merchandise visible here made up about 85% of the merchandise that was left in the building.
With the merchandise thinning out, that did provide me with an opportunity to get a better photo of the raised squiggly ceiling over the front doors.
And to finish out this post, here's a look at the now-closed Sears Auto Center. The Auto Center lasted about a month or so into the closing process of the main store, closing about a month and a half before the main store.
With part 3 of my Melbourne Sears closing series out of the way, that means I have one more part to go in my continuing coverage of this store: the final day. That's going to be a fun (but sad) post - probably the most exciting part of this entire series. Look for that to come to the blog soon!
So until the next post,