IT’S OFFICIAL: No more Sears in Natchez as bankruptcy filing closes stores nationwide

Published 4:29 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

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NATCHEZ — After months of steadily emptying the shelves with sales, the Sears Hometown store at 31 Seargent Prentiss Drive, Suite 3, is closed.

Owner Randy Dauzat said while he knew since December that the end was coming, he and his wife Kristen didn’t expect it to come so soon.

“We thought maybe we could ride it out until March, but we were notified Friday night that we had to shut down by Sunday night,” he said.

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In December, Sears Hometown Stores Inc., a spinoff of the larger Sears corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It was known then that approximately 100 Sears Hometown stores left standing nationwide, including the Natchez location, would eventually close, Dauzat said.

“It came as a shock to us when they decided to shut all the Sears Hometown Stores across the nation down. It’s not something that we wanted,” he said. “We always wanted to help out the people around here as best we could and I hope people thought that we have.”

Dauzat bought the Natchez store in 2015 after retiring from a 20-year career as a military policeman in the U.S. Air Force. For eight years, he and his wife have lived and worked in the Natchez community. Now that the store is closed, he said he and Kristen plan to move to their previous home in Florida to be closer to her family.

While giving up his love of running a small business, Dauzat said his immediate concern is for his customers, especially those who’ve recently bought warranties on their products.

“We want them to know that while all the stores are closed, the warranty department is fine and is still working. Don’t be alarmed,” he said.

He announced the closure to his customers on social media on Monday.

“It’s with a heavy heart we have to announce the store is now closed,” the post said. “We would like to thank you for all the support you have given in the past 8 years.  Any further questions about your product(s) or warranties, call 1-800-469-4663 or the manufacturer of your product.”

Natchez has had a locally-owned Sears off and on for 84 years, according to Historic Natchez Foundation director emeritus Mimi Miller.

The first Natchez Sears location sat near St. Mary Basilica at 517 Main St., Miller said. Its grand opening was in September of 1939. It left downtown Natchez and moved to the Tracetown shopping center in 1967, she said.