The retailer, located in Sandburg Mall, closed up shop and is taking more than 40 jobs with it.
A majority of the associates at Sears were considered part-time, but according to a press release obtained in January, some employees would be eligible for severance. Staff at Sears were asked not to speak to the media by the corporate offices, but one of the managers said the staff handled their last day as well as they could.
Ashley Walters was a shopper at Sears on Sunday. She tells WGIL that she has lived in the area since she was a child and seeing the store go “breaks her heart a little bit.”
“I have a friend — two friends, actually — that work here,” Walters said. “One of them is my neighbor. I’ve known him ever since I moved here in 2000. And, then, I have my friend who’s actually in my class. He’s losing his job, and I feel really bad for him.”
Noreen Riley is the fiancee of one of the now former store employees. She tells WGIL that the staff really got to know one another over the years.
“Who knows how often we’ll see them from here on out,” Riley said. “I just feel bad. I got to meet a lot of the people that he works with, and they don’t know where they’re going next.”
The announcement was made in January the store would be closing this month.
A few shoppers said they also knew some of the employees and said some were confident part-time work could be found elsewhere.
Sears said it is closing the store as part of a restructuring of its business model.