City of Centerville ‘excited’ Sears is closing, looks at new store possibilities

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CENTERVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The city of Centerville is not too upset Sears is leaving the Houston County Galleria Mall.  The announcement of the department store’s closure may have come as a surprise to some, but the city says they knew it was coming.

“I was very surprised,” said shopper, Ismaial Ward. “I like Sears, I like to come here and get my tools and different things that I need.”

The Centerville department store is one of the 39 Sears stores to close across the country in the Spring. Sears Holdings made the announcement in a release on Thursday.

“On the surface that may seem like a disappointment, but we’re actually very excited,” said Kate Hogan, Centerville’s Director of Economic Development.

Hogan says the city has been preparing for this closure.

“This is an opportunity for us to bring some new talent in, retail wise, for the mall, and also into Centerville and Middle Georgia,” said Hogan.

Centerville was expecting a closure announcement from Sears Holdings, after seeing the national trend of Kmarts and Sears closing.

“They had been closing about 100 stores every quarter, so we were really prepared for it,” said Hogan. “So every time they closed stores, it was a little bit of a shock that we hadn’t had Centerville listed. So when we were listed on this round of closures, it wasn’t that big of a surprise.”

This preparation has given the city’s retail recruitment firm a chance to scope out new stores to fill the vacancy.

“The retail recruitment firm has been at different conferences, advertising the opportunity here and it doesn’t get much better than just prime frontage on Watson,” said Hogan.

Whatever goes in its place, shoppers say it will be hard to replace a classic.

“It really depends what they do bring,” said Ward. “I hope that it will equal up to Sears but probably not though, so we’ll see.”

The Centerville Sears is closing its automotive center in late February.  Liquidation sales start as early as next week.

RELATED STORY: Sears at Galleria Mall in Centerville in early April