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Special Report: Cheers to Sears!

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC ) –  For decades Fort Wayne families have relied on Sears for everything from Christmas presents to appliances.  Now the store is set to close.  The company has not released an exact date for the closure of the Fort Wayne Store, but they’re expected to close the doors by the end of November.
“I hate to see it close, because I’ve been associated with Sears my whole life,” says Dave Stalter. “That’s the one thing I do miss is the popcorn being popped throughout the store.”  He worked at the store for forty years. At his house this week, some of his kids and grandchildren gathered around the kitchen table to go over the four decades worth of memories. “Hey you’ve got to see how much the clothes cost in there,” Dave said to his granddaughter as she looked at an old catalog.
Dave Stalter remembers four decades at Sears.
During your trips to Glenbrook mall, you probably saw Dave.  He was there at least 40 hours per week… often more.  He held on to a lot of memorabilia, including a sign that once was posted over the break room that had his name, “STALTER’S LOUNGE.”
“People come up to my parents, talking to my dad, saying he sold them that TV, or set up a TV for that lady down the street,” Dave’s daughter Laura remembers.  She says she learned a lot from her dad, including the value of good customer service.
“Building that connection with the customer versus now you don’t have that with the online services, or just less of it in the stores that you see now,” she says.  “I think that was a big difference.”
Dave’s son Eric has fond memories too. “He was able to remember part numbers very easy. At least as a kid, it felt he could spit off any number you want,” Eric remembers.
Eric realizes society’s shopping habits are changing, that it’s sometimes easier to order online, but he’s optimistic people will still seek out good salesmen like his dad.  “For some things like shoes, you really have to go try a lot of stuff on.”
Dave is proud of his life’s work. “Everything we ever did, Sears was part of it, morning noon and night,” he says.
From his time behind the counter, to the nights playing softball with the store’s team, or at golf outings with his wife Peg, Sears was at the center of their lives. “40 years of service, a husband who stayed at one job for 40 years, and not too many people do that anymore,” she says.
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Tom Powell

Tom Powell is the co-anchor of Fort Wayne’s NBC News at 5, 6 and 11 with Linda Jackson. Tom is also the Assistant News Director at Fort Wayne’s NBC.

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