What Sears Meant to Us

Besides creating iconic brands, including Craftsman and Kenmore, Sears was a financial innovator.

As I write this column in mid October, the financial world is dealing with a bad case of the jitters. The stock market is on a roller-coaster ride, inflation is heating up, mortgage rates are closing in on 5%—and now Sears has filed for bankruptcy.

The latest blow to the once-ubiquitous retailer isn’t a surprise, and it isn’t adding fuel to already-combustible markets. But the news has hit me hard. For much of its 125-year history, Sears was woven into the fabric of America’s culture and communities. The store reflected the best qualities of middle America: practicality, reliability and authenticity. Luxury and status were not part of its mission. It represented value.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Mark Solheim
Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Mark became editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine in July 2017. Prior to becoming editor, he was the Money and Living sections editor and, before that, the automotive writer. He has also been editor of Kiplinger.com as well as the magazine's managing editor, assistant managing editor and chief copy editor. Mark has also served as president of the Washington Automotive Press Association. In 1990 he was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Mark earned a B.A. from University of Virginia and an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Mark lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, and they spend as much time as possible in their Glen Arbor, Mich., vacation home.