First Barnes & Noble, now Sears: What’s happening in Harbison?

This just came in a little while ago:

Just In: The Sears store & auto center on Harbison Blvd. in the Columbiana area will permanently close in Early March.

So, what’s up in Harbison? First Barnes & Noble, now this…

Yeah, I know. It’d not about Harbison. It’s about Barnes & Noble and Sears specifically. It would be more logical to say, “First the Sears catalog (back in 1993), now this.”

What went wrong with Sears? I mean, yeah, it had taken on a sort of anachronistic feel, a sense that it was big back in the ’50s because that was its time, but how does that happen, and could Sears have done anything — other than stop being Sears — to reverse the process?

Of course, maybe looking at this as a Sears story is as off-base as seeing it as a Harbison story. But it’s hard to imagine this store closing back in the day when Sears played a much bigger role in the retail universe…

15 thoughts on “First Barnes & Noble, now Sears: What’s happening in Harbison?

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I liked being able to buy Lands’ End clothing in person, and return online purchases free, but otherwise, I won’t miss it.

    It would be so awesome if a really great retailer would go there…..

  2. Mark Stewart

    Harbison itself is an anachronism. It just doesn’t yet realize it. Someone is going to backfill Sears – this time.

    I would guess Costco; if they can do a deal…sometimes the best option is the last one.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Dunno. Every time (maybe once every couple of months) I hit the mall, always weekday afternoons, it is mobbed, and not mostly teenagers, either! Sears and Penney’s not so much. Maybe people are just walking around and not buying much? The kiosks seem to have people shopping at them! I don’t get it, but…..

  3. Doug Ross

    “What’s happening in Harbison?”


    Wal Mart and Target and Best Buy ate their lunch.

    FYI, Microsoft won’t be relevant by 2030.

    1. JesseS

      MS still has a chance, but it isn’t a very likely one. Inevitably they’ll manage their way into an IBM scenario and live off of patents, offshoring and staff cutting to make it from quarter to quarter.

  4. Kevin Dietrich

    Sears has been beset by crappy customer service for quite some time. I detailed my dreadful experience at a local Sears the Christmas before last here ( I haven’t been back since and have no intention of ever darkening the inside of a Sears again. The only store, as far as I can tell, that can treat customers poorly and get repeat business is Wal-Mart, and it’s only because their prices are so low. Eventually, even that act will wear thin, however.

    1. Norm Ivey

      My parents were dedicated to Sears. All of our clothing, household goods, and toys came from Sears. I’ve had a couple of old Wish Books in which I was able to identify every present every member of the family got from Santa in that year. They always purchased Allstate insurance because it was owned by Sears (don’t know if it still is or not). Daddy still buys his tires and batteries at Sears, but he’ll have to use a different store after the Harbison branch closes.

      I followed his lead as a young man, but a series of bad experiences with both retail and catalog purchases soured me on Sears. My last purchase at Sears was in the early 1990s–a gas grill. My feelings about them are so indifferent that I won’t even say good riddance, but I’ll not miss them when they’re gone. Wal-Mart can join them.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      I bought a top of the line front loading washer from them, and when it needed service? Oy! Seriously unsatisfactory! They should learn from Lands’ End!

  5. Silence

    I recently bought a Kenmore dishwasher at Sears for a rental property, one of the narrow “apartment” dishwashers. They had the best price, lower than Home Depot or Lowes or anywhere else I found. I also like Craftsman Tools a lot. Seems like Sears could make money just scaling back to Kenmore and Craftsman, spin them off into a solvent company and shut down everything else…

  6. JesseS

    My only real memories of Sears came from the Wishbook. The stores were always kind of a disappointment. Today the only thing that separates them from anyone else are craftsman tools and the fact that they are the only big box who sells pool tables.

  7. bud

    There is a theory in economics that suggests areas of a given urban region go through an 60 years cycle of waxing and waning. Forest Acres was pretty dormant just before WW II then exploded during the 50s and 60s, peaking probably some time around 1970. It then declined for some time until around the year 2000 then has come back strong recently. Pretty much the same happened in the St. Andrews area with a somewhat later peak of around 1985. It’s decline phase has not yet run it’s course. Harbison may be in the last stages of it’s rise and we may actually be seeing the inevitable decline phase. Then again this is just a theory. Only time will tell.

  8. O

    You’re right on. No theory – it’s the real estate cycle and it is ongoing. For one who grew up in Clba over 6 decades ago, we can see the development cycle from Boozer Shopping Center & the Broad River commercial development near Howard Johnson’s to St Andrews Road then the Piney grove Rd – Harbison area including Bower Parkway. Next commercial-retail focus is on Broad River Rd near Ballentine (WalMart, etc) & the Peak Exit on I-26. Parkridge Hospital will have an impact on traffic and development beyond Harbison also.

  9. Ralph Hightower

    Sears lost us years ago as customers. We called Sears to request lowering of our interest rate from their “pay day” lending rate. They said “No”. So when we paid the card off, we called them and told them “We’re cancelling!” Sears tried to entice us to stay by offering bonuses; I don’t remember what the bonus was, but in hindsight, I should have taken the bonus, spent it, and cancelled once and for all.

    But hey, that’s what one should expect when a company like K-Mart buys Sears. First it was KMart closing stores, now it’s Sears. But we won’t go to Columbia Mall. I hear that gangs have taken over in that section of Columbia.


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