Sears files for bankruptcy; hometown store in Rhinelander will stay openSubmitted: 10/15/2018

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RHINELANDER - Sears expects to close 142 stores around the country by the end of the year. That doesn't mean the Sears name is going to completely disappear. The manager of the Sears Hometown store in Rhinelander says his store is here to stay.

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert sent out an email Monday morning to his employees telling them that Sears is filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

This news wasn't too surprising to many shoppers.

"I expected that. It's been going downhill for years, and there had been a conversation," said Tony Steber, who has shopped at the store before. 

The news is still disappointing for some. 

"I got their lawnmower. I buy all my blades there. I buy all my oil there. I buy a lot of other things at Sears, and that's an important store for me," said Eugene Meyers, an avid Sears shopper. 

Lampert had been the company's CEO for the past five years. He stepped down step down this morning. In his time as CEO, he used some of his own money to keep the company afloat. With these changes, some stores had to adapt. 

"Back in 2012 all the Hometown Sears stores split completely from the Sears Holding Corporation," said Rhinelander Sears Hometown store manager Charles Bauman. 

The Rhinelander store will not be affected. 

"We have separate contracts with manufacturers for their product," Bauman said. 

Some customers, like Rick Towne, are relieved.

"I like their tools. I got leases here. I got the push mower," Towne said. 

Those who have any gift cards will still be able to use them at the hometown store. 

"Kenmore still has the warranties. You still have the purchase-protection agreements. The Sears gift cards are good at any store so you can use them at our store," Bauman said. 

Sears holdings stores will still be open for the holiday season and the company says it will happily assist customers all winter long. Bauman is happy that his store will not be affected.

"We are here to stay. We are independently owned. We will be around for a while," Bauman said.

Many of the Sears Holding stores around the country will be having their liquidation sales in the next two weeks. There are around 700 Sears holding stores left, including some that merged with K-Mart. As the bankruptcy process continues, more holding stores may be expected to close. 

Story By: Nina Schlosberg

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