Editor's Note: The story was updated to reflect the store's closing. (Feb. 20, 2023)

NORWALK, Ohio — Jim Graves wore every hat at his Sears Hometown store in Norwalk before the store closed its doors.

​He was at the store seven days per week, and for the last few years was the only person working there.

What You Need To Know

  • The last Sears Hometown Store in Ohio closed

  • Sears Hometown is a franchise brand of larger Sears stores

  • No full-size Sears Stores are left in Ohio, making the Hometown Store the last Sears retail outlet left in the state

“I do my own deliveries and everything," Graves said. 

Lately, he had been busy applying discounts and putting up signs, so he could sell all of his inventory. He said it became like a yard sale. 

“Now, we’re at 30-80% off," Graves said. "People are coming in and just buying it even if they don’t need it.” 

Jim’s store was a Sears Hometown, which is a franchise version of a large Sears store. He​ said Sears corporate told him all merchandise must be sold by the end of the month, as a way to pay off the company’s debt. Sears declared bankruptcy in 2018. The Sears Hometown Store brand also declared bankruptcy in December.

“The store owners have gotten the inventory judge left so the bankruptcy judge says 'OK close it,'" Graves said. "I’m not there yet, but hopefully by the end of the month, I should be.”

Sears shrunk its number of stores over the last decade. 

CNN reported that only 15 full-size Sears stores are left in the country. Sears did not return several requests for comment. 

No large Sears stores are left in Ohio. Jim said his franchise hometown store is the last Sears retail store of any kind in the state. Customers are saying their last goodbyes. 

Jim started up his own franchise in 2009 after retiring from his other job. He quickly renovated the space on Main Street, and said he did this just so he had something to do. 

“I didn’t work for Sears," he said. "I worked for myself and for the community. I helped the community. I Brought a lot of people uptown. Last couple of years you google Sears, I’m the only one that came up.” 

But he has memories of shopping at Sears stores, and it was sentimental for him to sell off what’s left of the chain’s brands, such as its old tool line: Craftsman. 

“Everybody is saying it’s sad that Sears is gone. They’re all sorry to see me go," Graves said. "For the store and stuff like because everyone went to Sears.” 

For Sears, it’s the closing of a store and the end of an era. For Graves, it’s the end of a chapter in his life. He said he may become a bus driver once this endeavor ends. 

“I tell everybody I’ve been putting up with crybaby customers for the last 14 years," Graves said. "I can put up with crybaby kids for a couple of hours."