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What happened to the Sears and Kmart buildings in the Inland Empire? – San Bernardino Sun

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The Interior Center in downtown San Bernardino opened in 1966 with three anchor stores: The May Co., The Broadway, and Sears.

May Co. closed in 1993, was replaced two years later by Gottschalks, which itself closed in 2009.

Broadway was acquired in 1996 by Macy’s, who used it as a Macy’s until moving to the mall’s newly built fourth anchorage, which had previously been occupied by Robinsons-May in 2006 .

Sears, the last surviving original anchor store, closed in 2020.

Transformco, which in 2019 purchased the remaining assets of Sears Holdings Inc., closing some Sears and Kmart . locations in San Bernardino and Riverside counties after purchase, with other Domestic locations closing shortly before the coronavirus pandemic.

Judi Penman, longtime president of the San Bernardino Regional Chamber of Commerce, was one of countless parents who over the years purchased affordable uniforms for their children at Sears. Quality clothing, Crafts tools and Kenmore equipment have attracted customers from all over the region, says Penman.

“Sears offers good quality for an average family,” she continued. “And they’ve got a good reputation.”

These large, mostly vacant Sears and Kmart buildings now represent a bygone era, before the online shopping boom, when customers dropped by their local big-box department store on weeknights and weekends to shop for clothing and jewelry, hardware, appliances, and home goods.

“These big retailers, they were Amazon back in the day,” said Edward Ornelas, president of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. “That’s where people go to do their shopping.”

New York-based Heritage Growth Properties owns dozens of old Sears . locations nationwide, including a handful of Domestic sites. One by one, these properties are being redeveloped for other retailers or fully modernized for a different use.

Seritage owns the Sears site at the Inland Center, and for now, it’s unclear what will happen to the site.

While some of the Domestic slots are unused, pending the right developer, others have been transformed for a new age.

Christine Damko, the city’s director of economic development, said Round 1 Entertainment, which offers bowling, video games and other family fun, has taken over the first floor of the former Sears building of Temecula in early 2019.

Damko adds that the second floor is currently under construction for major sports retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is expected to open later this year.

In San Bernardino County, Redlands found a new use for the vacant Kmart building – a future police station.

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/02/07/what-happened-to-sears-and-kmart-buildings-in-the-inland-empire/ What happened to the Sears and Kmart buildings in the Inland Empire? – San Bernardino Sun

Tom Vazquez

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