Sometimes, a store becomes part of a community. Neighbors grow accustomed to seeing one another in the aisles and passing the time over a rack of sweaters or a stack of neatly packaged sheets. That’s the case with the Sears store in Centennial Ranch.
But, after decades of serving as a local institution, the Centennial Ranch Sears, which occupies a space in the SouthGlenn Shopping Center, will close at the end of 2018. It’s the end of an era – and a time of reflection for many of the people who have shopped here.
A Nationwide Decline
Nationally, Sears stores have experienced a decline in sales. That’s partly due to the emergence of low-cost online retailers like Amazon and partly due to changing tastes. Sears has tried to evolve with the time by partnering with Land’s End and making other changes, but all told, 76 stores will be closing this year.
The fact that their store isn’t the only one closing is a small consolation to Centennial’s residents. Many of the most frequent customers have shopped at Sears since they were children.
Debbie Lefevre says that she frequently shopped at the Centennial Ranch store. It was her go-to choice for everything from children’s sweatpants to appliances. As she puts it, she bought “just everything” there. The store’s impending closure means that she’ll need to find someplace else to shop. She points out that it’s a sad time for many of the older people in Centennial Ranch.
Sue Rosser feels the same. She remembers eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Sears catalog when she was a child. She and her siblings would pore over the pages, examining the toys and clothes in it with wide eyes. She’s shopped at the Centennial Ranch store for decades, buying her children’s school clothing there every year. At 68 years old, she’s long past the days of back-to-school shopping but she remembers those days with fondness.
Questions About the Future
With the closure of the Centennial Ranch Sears, only seven Sears stores will remain in the state of Colorado. It’s fair to say that their fate is uncertain.
The future appears to be bright for the space currently occupied by Sears. Sears Roebuck owned the property, but they sold it to NW Centennial LLC in August of 2017. Robert Golden, who’s the President and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, thinks there are plenty of possibilities when it comes to who will rent the space in the future.
Golden says that he anticipates “great things will happen with the property.” The developer handling the property, Alberta Development Partners, are “a progressive and thoughtful group.” He believes that they’ll choose wisely with an eye toward improving the community.
One possibility is that the group will turn the property into apartments. Centennial is experiencing a housing shortage. There’s also a rising demand for hotel rooms in the Denver area and building a hotel in Centennial could attract tourists – and revenue – to the city.
Memories to Cherish
There’s nothing Sue Rosser or Debbie Lefevre can do to forestall the inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not a little said about the store closing. The simplest eulogy for the store comes from Rosser, who said, “We had kids. We shopped here.” It’s a fitting epitaph for a store that has been a family destination in Centennial.