With the announcement that Sears would be closing the Great Northern Mall store, in conjunction with the closing of the Shoppingtown Mall store, Syracuse will be without a Sears retail store for the first time since 1929. Sears, Roebuck started out as a mail order catalog company before opening retail stores beginning in 1925.
The first Sears retail store opened in Syracuse on October 3, 1929. The store was located at 1300 South Salina Street, and had 3 floors and nearly 60,000 square feet of selling space. The opening generated much excitement in the area and the Syracuse Herald Journal devoted an 8 page section in its October 2, 1929 edition to the new store. The newspaper went on to say that the modern building “was one of the most attractive mercantile buildings erected in Syracuse.”
The store was excellent for the local job market as nearly 450 people, mostly women, were employed at one time. 98 percent were from the Syracuse area. Roughly 900 people were waiting in line to enter the store when it opened. Times change and Sears has fallen upon hard times. That is a story for another day, but it’s nice to reminisce about a different time when Sears was the king of the retail business. It will be sorely missed.