Retired Sears Employees Say Goodbye To Devonshire Mall Location

Nearly 100 former Sears employees made their way through the department store's Devonshire Mall location on its final day Sunday.

Sears declared bankruptcy in early 2017 with the intention of trying to restructure, but Sears Canada announce it would be pulling the plug in October. 

More than 12,000 people lost their jobs across the country, 200 hundred of which were lost in Windsor alone.

The store was the first building erected more than 40-years-ago, before Devonshire Mall was developed on adjacent land, and  it's become a local fixture ever since.

Doris Mcknight-Slipiek started working in the cafeteria at the tender age of 17 — 39-years and 20 different positions later — Sears is the only employer she's ever known.

"I feel like I grew up with most of the people you see right now and they're more of an extended family," she says. "I almost had my second child here, I had to get taken to the hospital from here that night. So it really is a family for me."

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Former Sears employees Joan Brady, Louise Mckinnon, and Doris Mcknight-Slipiek tour the Devonshire Mall location before it closed its doors for good on Sunday Jan. 14, 2018. (Photo by AM800's Gord Bacon)

Mcknight-Slipiek finished her career as a human resource manager nine-years-ago. 

Looking at a building she's never seen empty before she tells AM800 News it's a bitter sweet day.

"When we first opened the store it was such a fun thing. Everybody was excited, it was great," she added. "Now that it's like this, it's pretty depressing, but it's been wonderful to see all the people that came out."

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The sales the Devonshire Mall Sears location picked clean before closing permanently on Sunday Jan. 14, 2018. (Photo by AM800's Gord Bacon)

Seeing so many old faces is a silver-lining, but her thoughts are still with those who are being forced out of a job.

"It wouldn't have been something that I've ever seen, you know, just too kind of leave them high and dry, but it's a bankruptcy. Unfortunately I don't know what's going to happen," she says. "I wish them all the best, but it's a tough market out there."

The department store has been a part of Devonshire Mall since 1970 and was one of the few remaining in the area.

Mcknight-Slipiek says during her tenure the store was consistently, one of, if not the top seller in all of Canada.