Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sears Grand Austin Tx.


This Sears Grand opened in the fall of 2005 as part of Sears push at the time to compete with Walmart Supercenters and Super Target stores. The store featured a full Sears store along with groceries, toys, health, music, movies, garden center, and pet supplies. Now the store has lost most of the extra departments and has furniture and clearance items where those departments were located. 

Current Sears Grand stores still in operation (according to the Sears website) include








If there are any more out there, drop me a comment and I will add the store to the list.
This concept could have done well if it had been pursued more aggressively. This concept was opened around the time of the Kmart and Sears merger that has seen nearly every concept outside of Sears and Kmart fade away or get spun off. Sears Grand lives on in name and design, but the extra departments that made the store unique are long gone. Since Super Kmart Centers at the time of the merger were going away, this concept was also abandoned in favor of Sears Essentials stores. For more information about this concept click here. 
A view of the closed off Garden Center.
The directory lists many departments that are no longer in the store. As you can see the setup is similar to many popular Supercenter concepts.

A look from the North entrance to the store towards the checkouts. 
The area to the left of this picture featured the pantry and pet supplies. The signage was changed in this area once the departments were removed. 
This was the area where the Health and Beauty section was at. 
Gamecube games are long gone from the electronics department.

Another section that is no longer here, but all the signs remain. I wonder how many disappointed kids have seen the sign across the store and found out that nothing is left but sporting goods and clearance items. 
Appliances
Tools 
Lawn and Garden
Looking at a row of checkouts. 
A look across the middle of the store .
Two views from the front of the store to the electronics section in the back. 

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the pictures of this Texas Sears Grand. I believe that you teased us with some photos of this place before so it is great to finally see all the pictures. I think pre-Kmart Sears had the right idea by building big box style stores out in the newest suburban areas. I'm not sure if they really needed things like pantry foods and stuff like that, but Sears certainly needed full-line stores or something similar out in newer areas. The flip side is that if more of these were built, probably more of the current mall and inner city/older suburb Sears stores would have closed.

    The Nintendo Gamecube signage is certainly very outdated now. In fact, it was almost outdated in 2005 too since things like the Xbox 360 and Wii were coming out around then. I see a sign for Mitsubishi electronics (full-line Sears had those too), but Mitsubishi does not even make consumer electronics now so clearly that is outdated. Of course, Mitsubishi electronics were high end so maybe it helps to have that there even if they don't sell their products anymore since it at least it looks like Sears sells high end stuff. The placement and size of the electronics department in the back of the store is similar to what Walmart did/does and what Target does now. It's nice to see a large electronics department even if the product selection is slimmer now than it was in 2005.

    The Sears logo and slogans on the store are also outdated, but perhaps not as outdated as the Sears logos on most of their stores. I'm sure that the eliminated departments weren't profitable and maybe Sears had a hard time coming up with a pricing/supply scale in those areas that was more in line with Sears and less in line with Kmart given that those departments are more in Kmart stores than in regular Sears stores. It would be good if they took the department signage down for those eliminated departments instead of reminding shoppers of the departments that Sears Grand had trouble with.

    Thanks again for the photos. I'd really like to visit this store during my next trip to Austin.

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    1. It looks like in other Sears Grand stores some of the departments like pet supplies and cleaning supplies are still in place or they have not changed the store information yet to reflect the changes. It was somewhat of a challenge to figure out what stores under the Sears Grand name are still open. I had to rely on old articles and a Sears website search where you cannot look up just Sears Grand stores.
      I hopefully can make it there again in the future to get a few more shots of the middle and front of the store, but the sheer size of the store has to be seen in person.

      My next project which has started is to get more Central Texas Malls and retail stores. Waco has some cool retro stores including a Drug Emporium, a 1950's-1960's strip center with a center mall, and a 1980's style Toys R Us with a Video Game pickup counter that is still used. You can check out a few photos of the Toys R Us on Yelp here, but I have better photos for the blog.

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    2. Oops the Toys R Us photos were actually on the Foursquare site here

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  2. It may be possible that some other Sears Grand stores have departments that have been eliminated at other Sears Grand stores, but I'm not sure. It's possible that Sears kept the departments at stores where they were selling well and cut them where they weren't selling well. It's not like there's a lot of Sears Grand stores so it's not like Sears has to worry about consistency and they probably don't have to worry about buying power as they can get things like cleaning supplies from their Kmart supply chain.

    One thing that this Sears Grand has more of than regular full-line Sears seems to be sofas. Perhaps the profit margins on the sofas are good so I wonder if we'll start to see more of that stuff in full-line stores just like the growth of mattresses at Sears. If so, I hope they don't take away electronics to free up more floor space.

    I knew of a couple of Sears Grand locations that aren't on your list, but I did some research and it is possible that those stores closed since I can't find them in the Sears directory. Thanks for the research, I'm sure that list will be helpful to those doing research about Sears Grand stores. It would be nice to get more photos of these now increasingly rare stores.

    It's probably a good idea to document Central Texas retail. I've spent some time in Austin (though not so much recently) so that might be personally interesting to me. I think you've already documented a couple of the Austin malls that I remember visiting in the 1990s. There are a lot of small towns and cities in Central Texas and small towns/cities have some of the most interesting retail buildings and malls. That Waco Toys R Us is certainly an example of that. That store is a real throwback, thanks for the link to the pictures. One Central Texas retail establishment that I've been wanting to see pictures of is the Killeen Kmart. I know that it is a modified mansard slice Kmart. Some of those stores are quite interesting. Have you been able to visit that store or do you plan on visiting it?

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    1. I did not think of the Kmart connection to Sears in regards to the extra departments. Maybe since the closest Kmart is over a hour away from Austin they eliminated these departments to save delivery costs. The other Sears Grand stores are in areas with Kmarts.
      I plan on visiting Central Texas and Corpus again in the near future so I will keep you and the readers posted.

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  3. Sears Grand was meant to compete with Target, Kmart, and Walmart. Once Sears and Kmart were together, that didn't matter anymore, but instead of trying to repair Kmart and try their hand at modern Supercenter locations, they wasted time, money, and consumer confidence with Sears Essentials. As time went on, what should've happened is Sears Grand should've been phased out from the get-go and remained a prototype, to be replaced with traditional Sears stores, The Great Indoors, or Super Kmart stores.

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    1. The Pittsburgh Mill Sears Grand will be closing by January so who knows how much longer this store will last. Sears had the money 10 years ago to make this concept work and grow Super Kmart stores but their leader hurt the long term growth of the company. Now they are struggling to keep the stores they have open.

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