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3/17/2016 6:55:00 PM
After 51 years, Sears at Bloomington's College Mall closing in mid-June 2016

Kurt Christian, Herald-Times

Sears, the first anchor store at College Mall, will close in June after more than 51 years in business.

The store, which has anchored College Mall in Bloomington since March 1965, will remain open to the public until an unspecified date in the middle of June this year, employees were told Tuesday. Plans have been made for a liquidation sale starting on March 25. The store and accompanying auto center currently employ 52 people.

"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model," Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings wrote in an email confirming the store closing.

Riefs also noted that full-time eligible associates will receive severance pay and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other Sears or area Kmart stores. 

Sears and H.P. Wasson and Company were the original anchors when Melvin Simon & Associates opened College Mall in 1965. Sears opened in March of that year, with Wassons opening a 35,000-square-foot store five months later. A major remodeling project in 1993 expanded the sales floor at Sears from 56,000 to 68,000 square feet.

Bloomington Sears store manager Nashville Raider said employees were informed of the impending closure in a Tuesday morning meeting with a district manager, but it wasn't the first they'd heard of the news. 

"It was mixed emotions. Some people were happy, some were upset," said Raider. "I think we were happy to finally have the relief of knowing what was going on."

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