There can be few bleaker testaments to the beleaguered condition of US retail than the Sears department store in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Once a flagship of the world’s largest retailer, the landmarked art deco building was opened in 1932 by Eleanor Roosevelt, who made the first purchase ever in this location, “a pair of baby booties”, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. There’s little of that historic legacy on display today.
There is just one entrance open at the store now. The walls are a dirty beige and much of the merchandise sub-discount. Yet many of the shoppers said they were pleased to come and browse. Unlike hundreds of shuttered stores across the country, it is at least still in business.