By Graham Sweeney
As Sears Outlet stores rapidly close in malls across the country, the company’s core continues to grow thanks to its deep roots.
Owners like Ken Hipps, who operates Sears Hometown Collierville, remain dedicated to providing the products and services that made Sears a household name more than 90 years ago without the frills of the full-service, big-box department stores that have shut down in recent years.
Sears Hometown, which is a separately public traded company, continues to sell home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, apparel, mattresses, sporting goods and tools at five locations in the Mid-South. Founded in April 2012, it was spun off of Sears Holdings.
“Sears has not closed,” said Hipps, who bought the Collierville location three years ago and has lived in the town for more than 20 years. “It has survived bankruptcy. Unfortunately, we don’t have full-line stores here any more. Most of the mall stores, their main focus was selling clothes. Sears Home Town has its roots back in the very beginning when these were catalog stores.”
Sears Hometown stores are independently owned and sell Sears merchandise, like Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools, as well as all other major brands.
“The only thing that we share with Sears, besides the name, is the Kenmore brand,” Hipps said of the brand, which dates back to 1927. “We are the better part of Sears. We still sell appliances, lawn and garden, tools, mattresses, all the major things. We are the basement of Sears, the founding parts that were there from early on.”
Sears Hometown Collierville even recently began offering a repair and installation service for all brands of appliances.
“Customers kept calling us asking for a repair service. Listen to your customers and they will tell you what you need to do,” he said. “So, this was a natural expansion of our services.”
Hipps’ staff will work on appliances even if they were not purchased from Sears.
“Hometown Repairs,” he said. “We service all brands regardless of where you bought them.
“As everything has become ‘big-boxed’ and people are calling 1-800 numbers all the time, we started up our own repair business, which we operate out of the store,” he continued. “When you call us you can talk to a real person in our store.”
Hibbs’ staff also undergoes monthly training to remain certified for all appliances.
“They really know what they are talking about,” he added. “Our focus is on hiring good people that just care and like what they’re doing.”
As of December 2018, Sears Hometown independent franchisees operated a total of 722 stores across the country. There are five locations in the Mid-South, including Collierville, Covington Memphis, Olive Branch and West Memphis.
Hibbs said that Sears continues to offer warranties and protection plans that are among the best in the country.
“Craftsman has the best ‘over the counter warranty’ in the business,” he maintained.
Sears Hometown also offers preventative maintenance for appliances. Services like dryer vent cleaning, washing machine maintenance and refrigerator repairs are common place.
“We want to make sure that you get the right appliance and then keep your appliances working,” Hibbs said. “Sometimes a simple repair is the solution. The (technician) can often help over the phone before even showing up.”
Sears Hometown services all of Shelby, Tipton and Marshall counties and most of Fayette County.
“Our business model is different than our competitors,” Hibbs concluded. “You’re our customer for life.
“We are the future of Sears and we’re here to stay,” he added.
Sears Hometown Collierville is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information or repairs, call 854-4550.