Bankruptcy forces closure of Sears store in Superior

Sears Authorized Hometown Stores LLC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, prompting the closure of locally owned and operated stores across the country.

The Sears Hometown Store in the Mariner Retail and Business Center, owned and operated by Dave Dittbrender, will be closing after more than a decade after Sears Authorized Hometown Stores LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, Dec. 12, in Delaware.
Shelley Nelson / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — Sears Hometown Store in the Mariner Retail and Business Center will be closing after Sears Authorized Hometown Stores LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dec. 12 in Delaware.

According to the company’s website, all of its the locally owned and operated stores will be shuttering once the inventory is liquidated and furniture, fixtures and equipment is sold.

Dave Dittbrender, owner of the Superior store, said he is in the process of liquidating his inventory and doesn’t expect the sale to last beyond January when his doors will close for the last time.

The director of sales that Dittbrender worked with learned of the bankruptcy about 20 minutes before store owners were notified by email.

“We did some closeouts in October because new models were going to start coming in,” Dittbrender said.


However, Sears was unable to secure new inventory because of its financial challenges, resulting in a rapid downward spiral that resulted in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the filing by Sears Hometown Stores Inc. CEO Elissa Robertson.

The company's financial performance has suffered over the last few years from a number of factors, including declining sales, rising costs and the “hangover” from the COVID-19 pandemic, the filing stated.

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“COVID-19 was tough,” Dittbrender said. “You had to stick money into it just to stay open so the debt load went up a little bit.”

Once the store closes, Dittbrender said he plans to find a job.

“I’ve just got to get through the next four to six weeks,” he said.

Dittbrender opened the Sears Hometown Store in 2009.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
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