Searstown shopping centers

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dooneyt63
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Searstown shopping centers

Post by dooneyt63 » 14 Nov 2007 22:31

I'm trying to compile a list of Sears Town shopping center locations. Very few still operate under that name today though several remain. Titusville, FL still has a Searstown Mall. Fort Lauderdale's downtown area Sears is still known as Searstown by locals. Many have disappeared or no longer have their Sears stores. It would be great to hear of locations and current conditions from different areas.

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Post by Groceteria » 15 Nov 2007 20:14

Searstown Shopping Centers listed in my handy 1964 guide to shopping centers:

-- Clearwater FL (1201 S. Missouri Ave.) Open Fall 1962.
-- Pascagoula MS (No address) Open October 1964.
-- Cocoa FL (US 1 and Winn-Dixie Rd.) Open 1965.
-- Ft. Lauderdale FL (901 N. Federal Hwy.) No date.
-- Ft. Pierce FL (U.S. 1) No date.
-- Key West FL (1403 12th St., may be mailing address only) No date.
-- Columbia SC (1001 Harden St.) Open August 1955.

There are also several more listed as Sears Shopping Center, or variations thereof. Let me know if you're interested in those as well.

rich
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Post by rich » 15 Nov 2007 22:34

There were two Searstowns in Cleveland, although the term "Searstown" was seldom used by anyone to describe them. Both were related to c. 1928 stores in established urban neighborhoods: E. 86th & Carnegie, W. 110th & Lorain Ave. Both stores lasted into the 70s (Lorain Ave lasted longer).

The east side Searstown once included a Kresge (I found this in old newspapers some years back) which probably closed in the late 50s/early 60s and probably became the relatively modern auto center. Not contiguous with Sears, but nearby and using a similar yellow brick were Fisher Foods & A&P stores that probably dated from the 40s and which have been discussed on the Midwest thread. We never shopped at this Searstown, although my grandmother lived nearby. The area went into a steep decline after the 1966 Hough riots (epicenter was about a mile away) and the unrelated opening of the Richmond Mall store later in '66. Richmond Mall was the largest store in the area, had regional offices, and was meant to be the new east side "flagship". The Sears building later had a number of arts-related uses and currently houses the Museum of Contemporary Art. The rest of the site has been redeveloped as part of Cleveland Play House (the oldest repertory theatre in the US), which had been using facilities nearby.

I remember Lorain & W 110th less well, although I do remember shopping there once on an excursion to the airport. It also had a Kresge that closed fairly early on (Kresge closed many stores in '62 when they announced the birth of K-Mart and the plan to open few, if any, additional variety stores) and a Fisher Foods. I think that Searstown had an arcade-type setup adjacent to the Sears store and faced Lorain Ave (the Fisher had a Lorain Ave. address but may have faced a side street), with a parking lot in the back. This Searstown was demolished for a strip mall anchored by Finast (later Tops). Its amazing how small it seems compared with the massive looking Sears it replaced.

The Carnegie store had a massive facade facing Carnegie, but the "town" essentially was distributed across the parking lot which had a wide expanse on Carnegie and extended to Euclid Ave.---the super markets, each separately facing Euclid Ave, in back of the store. Lorain & W 110th also used yellow brick.

TenPoundHammer
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Re: Searstown shopping centers

Post by TenPoundHammer » 23 Nov 2007 19:28

Searstown Mall in Titusville is still open, though for how long is anyone's guess. It's currently anchored by Sears (duh), Bealls Florida, and Fred's. (Anyone know what the Fred's used to be? I'm guessing it was a Winn Dixie or Publix.) Most of the mall space is now offices.

The Mall at Whitney Field in Leominster, MA used to be called Searstown Mall. It opened in the 1960s and currently features JCPenney, Macy's, Sears, Old Navy, Steve & Barry's and Circuit City -- overall it seems to be doing well, mostly chain tenants, very few vacancies. This one has had a lot of changeovers in anchor stores though.

Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, NJ (near Atlantic City) was built in the 1960s as just Searstown. It originally featured Grant City (later JCPenney), Sears, and Steinbach. Both Sears and JCPenney moved to Hamilton Mall when it opened in 1987. Currently, this mall has Boscov's, Burlington Coat Factory and Value City for anchors; Value City will be closing sometime in 2008, and Burlington will relocated into the Value City space. This one is mostly a ghetto mall now -- mostly full, but almost entirely ma & pa stores.

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Post by jimbobga » 24 Nov 2007 16:03

As for the Sesrstown Mall in Titusville, Florida...this mall and the very close-by Miracle City Mall both opened during the same month in something like 1967. While Miracle City Mall was somewhat more upscale with Belk-Lindsey and Penney's, SearsTown had the stores that Miracle City did not have, so there wasn't any overlap. The mall was situated perpendicular to US 1, with Sears - the only anchor - being the only store having frontage along the highway. The rest of the mall seemed to just come out the back door of Sears. At the far end of the enclosed mall was a very uniquely-placed Publix Market. This store, complete with a somwhat-truncated wings and waterfall exterior, was three-fourths outside of the mall, with the other fourth located inside of the mall. There was no mall entrance to Publix, but one could see in the windows of the Publix store before exiting the mall to the outside entrance of Publix. It seems like Eckerd Drugs had a store adjoining Publix on the west side. The mall also had a Woolworth's. I would imagine the Fred's store is the location of the Publix, but if Fred's is located inside the mall, it would be in the location of the Woolworth store.

An explanation for the mall situation in Titusville was, for lack of a better word, optimism. It was thought that the population of Titusville would skyrocket [pun intended] due to its location immediately across the Indian River from Kennedy Space Center, and this led to the town's slogan being "The Miracle City." There was talk of Ivey's coming to Titusville, along with Montgomery Ward, as well as some brief talk of Jordan Marsh locating there. All of this changed when Lyndon Johnson moved such a large portion of the space center workers to Texas, leaving Titusville only a shadow of what its dreams were to be.

Searstown in Cocoa did not last as long as the mall in Titusville. Built around 1963, Searstown was an L-shaped strip center with a full-line Sears store and a Publix Market facing US 1. About a year later, the rest of the center was developed on the long side of the 'L' running perpendicular to US 1. Since most of the chains of the day were either located in downtown Cocoa or north of town in Byrd Plaza, Searstown's store were mainly local [Campbell's Drugs and TradeWinds Cafeteria], but there was a Gordon's Jewelers as well as a Woodrow Men's store in the center. While the center survived into the seventies, its location immediately adjacent to a very low-income neighborhood as well as an industrial area immediately across US 1 led to its having an unsafe feel. Publix changed its store to the budget-oriented "Food World" which lasted for a few years, and Sears held on until it opened a new store in Merritt Square Mall during its late 80's expansion.

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Post by Jeff » 27 Nov 2007 17:35

I ran across this today for a theatre listing:

45 Sack Blvd.
100 Searstown Mall
Leominster, MA 01453

Apparently, the center is now called The Mall at Whitney Field. It still has its Sears store, and Searstown Mall Rd is now called Commerical Rd.

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Post by TenPoundHammer » 28 Nov 2007 11:28

jimbobga wrote:I would imagine the Fred's store is the location of the Publix, but if Fred's is located inside the mall, it would be in the location of the Woolworth store.
Judging by your description, the former Woolworth's is now Bealls Outlet, and Fred's is indeed the former Publix. Here's a listing on Loopnet, with a site plan of the mall:

http://www.loopnet.com/xNet/MainSite/Li ... t006a00001

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Re: Searstown shopping centers

Post by danielh_512 » 22 Mar 2008 05:21

Add Cumberland/LaVale, MD to your list of Searstowns. Although little remains from the one here.

It opened I believe in either 1963 or 1965, with Sears (of course), Woolworth, Thrift Drug, a 2-screen movie theater called the Palace and an Acme supermarket. The hill across from Searstown (as it was commonly called) that once housed a golf course became the Country Club Mall in 1981. While JCPenney, Eyerly's, and Kmart anchored the mall, Sears resisted until 1984, eventually adding a store on to the mall.

The Sears space became Zayre quickly after. The auto center sat at the corner of Vocke & Winchester roads, separate from Sears, and became a Kelly Tire outpost (which were formerly made in the city). The Woolworth closed sometime around there. Acme closed their remaining Western Maryland stores around 1988, and this one was no exception. That area was bulldozed, along with some small store space, for a Martin's/Giant that would open in 1991, replacing their space nearby in a former Safeway.

Zayre became Ames, and quickly closed when the chain declared bankruptcy, with an already existing Ames 6 miles away in Frostburg. The Sears building was bulldozed a year later for Wal-Mart, who opened in 1993.

The site went from this time having mall-like stores to being primarily local service-oriented businesses. The IRS moved their local offices here, as did the Hospital's Home Health Care store. It was an odd arrangement of stores that changed dramatically over the years. Much of it was like a mall but open-air, although the front part continually would be bulldozed for more parking and better access for the existing retailers. A local buffet called the Silver Leaf closed during this period, and that space never was filled. A furniture store filled the former Woolworth's (next to the Wal-Mart), and was replaced by a carpet wholesaler. A bank at the corner closed through mergers and was replaced by a Blockbuster Video. Trak Auto took a large space in the middle during the mid-90's. When Thrift became Eckerd in 1998, the store never converted or replaced, and was closed. The interior to its last days remained stuck in the 1970's with gaudy yellow, brown, and green wallpaper adorning the walls for department headings.

In 2005, Wal-Mart abandoned the center after bulldozing the former Kmart portion of Country Club Mall for a Supercenter, and the Wal-Mart building was filled by Tractor Supply Co. and Goody's, who has since left.

In 2007, Martin's/Giant bulldozed much of the original Searstown portion for a new superstore. Gabriel Brothers now houses the 1991 Martin's/Giant build. The only original part of the center is the small store patch between the new and old supermarkets. This small section houses a Chinese buffet, Dollar Tree, pet store, and liquor store. There are some vacant spaces available for use. The original Sears Auto Center is still standing, containing a Blockbuster Video and U.S. Cellular outlet. The center has been called Braddock Square for a long time, and now maintains that name exclusively. The center until the 1990's was commonly known as both Braddock Square and Searstown.

Ephrata1966
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Re: Searstown shopping centers

Post by Ephrata1966 » 07 Apr 2009 01:11

Shore Mall in Pleasantville, NJ was built as a Searstown in 1968, then was converted to a mall in 1974.

hushpuppy212
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Re: Searstown shopping centers

Post by hushpuppy212 » 09 Apr 2009 11:38

In the Google maps street view of 3286 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, you can see the sign still says 'Searstown'

http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=na ... 1&ct=image

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Re: Searstown shopping centers

Post by marshd1000 » 09 Apr 2009 20:43

While I not visited Alaska yet, I know that there is a mall in Anchorage that is still functioning called, "The Mall at Sears". I am assuming that it has been around awhile. The font for the name, "Sears" is what was used for the corporate logo in the 1960's and '70's. Here is the website: http://www.mallatsears.com/

pseudo3d
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Re: Searstown shopping centers

Post by pseudo3d » 06 Oct 2012 13:59

Did all Searstown stores have a supermarket, and if so, with an interior entrance or without? Did any of them have discount stores?

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