By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Retail | Issue: August 2009
Sales associate Norm Pelletier and owner Rory Eastman (standing) welcome you to the hometown Sears store in Claremore.
When Rory Eastman was 16 years old, he got what he thought was a bright idea: he decided he wanted to go to a big city. Having always lived in a small town, he thought he surely must be missing something, so that summer, he got a job in Tulsa. But Rory soon became burned out on the city and found out something about himself that would affect his life for years to come, even to the present day – he had a heart for Small Town, America.
That’s why when he found that the Sears location in Claremore was in need of an owner, buying it was not a difficult decision at all. He and his wife, Robin, already owned the Sears in Pryor, and Rory hated to see the community where his parents grew up take a blow to its economy. As he says, “I know from growing up in a small town that when you lose a business, the small town suffers.”
Many people hear the name Sears and automatically think it is just another big chain. But Rory points out, “Sears developed hometown stores like this one 16 years ago to reach small communities. There are a little over 900 of these locally-owned locations countrywide, and the number is growing.” Sears stores like these have the same selection as a big-city store with friendly local service, which is what Rory finds so attractive, not only as a store owner but as a consumer. “As a customer, I liked the fact that I would see the same people,” says Rory. “And besides, I’m big on shopping locally. I want my tax dollars to go to the town I live in and to my kids’ schools, where they improve my community rather than some big city.”
Through his partnership with Sears, Rory provides the building and employees – friendly hometown faces – while Sears provides trusted products and service. Rory is a big believer in both of these, stating, “Sears is the largest service provider in the country, with over 10,000 service technicians in the United States.” He stands behind Sears products as well; the store in Claremore is packed with a huge selection of household appliances, electronics, fitness equipment, tractors and mowers, air conditioners, mattresses, and much more.
“I think we do a good job of packing a lot of selection into a small building,” Rory says with a smile, pointing out that they carry all the top brands, not just Kenmore. “But, we are the only company that has them all. No one else can carry Kenmore.”
Don’t see what you need on the floor of the Claremore location? No problem, according to Rory. The staff can order anything Sears carries and provides free shipping on most items – something customers wouldn’t get if they ordered from Sears at home. “It’s Sears’s way of thanking the customer for coming into the store,” Rory says. “There are over two million items from www.sears.com for which free shipping is provided if the customer orders it from our location.”
So if you like big-city selection and top-notch service in a small town atmosphere, be sure to drop by Sears in Claremore. Rory and Robin Eastman and their staff will always be glad to see you. “I like being around the public,” Rory says. “Sometimes people just come in to tell you how much they like what they bought or just to say hi. I always enjoy that.”