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Post Sears Nostalgia in Brazil
Created by John Eipper on 06/24/14 4:09 AM

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Sears Nostalgia in Brazil (Joe Listo, Brazil, 06/24/14 4:09 am)

No need to apologize to non-US WAISers in the case of Sears (see JE's remarks of 23 June). The company was a huge icon in Brazil during the 1960s. Friends my age still fondly remember and miss this great organization.

Sadly, the company closed doors in 1983. Buying at Sears was quite an experience, almost an adventure back then. Sears was years ahead of the competition. People were in awe when it displayed a power boat on its showroom (first company to display such a huge item), right next to a long line of US-made bicycles that were the dream of every teenager. Their Kenmore line of products was impressive. My mother bought a Kenmore washer that worked like a dream and lasted more than thirty years.

And there were also snacks, amongst which a delightful salty peanut they sold in small paper bags that one would eat like there was no tomorrow. But Sears´s cherry on the cake was the Blue Room, a well decorated ballroom they rented for birthday parties and other gatherings. Having your birthday party at the Sears Blue Room would set you apart from the crowd, as it was quite fancy at the time, not to mention expensive.

Sears was based in Rio de Janeiro, where it owned a large building which today houses the Botafogo Praia Mall. Its São Paulo store was bought by real estate investors, who erected yet another mall named Shopping Paulista. Although hundreds of world-class names are represented in today´s Brazil, nothing can compare with the experience of buying at Sears. I really wish the company could make a turn-around.

JE comments: Great to hear from you, Joe, and thank you for the memory. While it's gone in Brazil, Sears still thrives in Mexico, where it is owned by Grupo Carso, part of the empire of the world's second richest man, Carlos Slim Helú.  Sears enjoys a prestige in Mexico that it lost long ago in the US, so like Woolworth's in Mexico, I suspect it will survive the likely demise of the parent company.

Now that I have your ear, Joe, I hope you'll send a report on World Cup fever.  And congratulations on Brazil's victory yesterday over Cameroon.

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