Watching a retail icon rise, fall and reinvent itself

by Matt Perkins

Don Casey grew up in a Sears household.

The Sartell resident’s father, Donald, worked for Sears nearly his entire adult life, moving the family to St. Cloud in 1952 when he transferred to be assistant manager of the department store downtown.

Casey says they were a happy, middle-class family that enjoyed prosperity because of his father’s job. They regularly vacationed in Florida, and stock options helped his father retire before the age of 60.

“They were it,” Casey said. “Sears was the world’s largest retailer.”

Sears’ presence in St. Cloud dates back to 1928. That 90-year history comes to a close in January when the Sears store at Crossroads Center closes. The Sears name lives on in cities like Little Falls, where a Sears Hometown and Outlet store carries on a smaller presence under separate ownership.

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