Workers at Canada's original Sears store get help from mayor

Stratford, Ont.'s mayor says he will help find jobs for local laid-off workers at his city's historic Sears store, the first retail location opened in the company's Canadian operation.

'Sears was that identity that many families grew up with,' says mayor

The first Canadian Sears bricks and mortar store opened on Ontario Street in Stratford, Ont in 1953. (Mike Kalasnik)

Stratford, Ont. mayor Dan Mathieson said to see Sears Canada's "demise across Canada is somewhat sad," especially thinking of the 80 employees who will be losing their jobs as a result of the retailer's closure in his town. The chain is closing down its operations and may be gone from Stratford as early as January.

Stratford was the location of Canada's first retail Sears store, originally known as Simpsons-Sears, which opened in 1953. 

"Sears was that identity that many families grew up with," he added.

Sears Canada announced on Oct. 10 it will be closing all its remaining stores and has plans to liquidate all remaining inventory.

City jobs

For those Sears employees losing their jobs when the local store closes, there are hundreds of available jobs in Stratford, most of them full-time work, according to Mathieson.

"Supporting employees and the retail ecosystem in Stratford will be a priority in the weeks and months to come," Joani Gerber, the CEO of investStratford, said in a news release.

Mathieson is hopeful that some people may be able to make the transition directly into new jobs.

"We're going to step out there and try to help those individuals understand that there are opportunities, and there are people they can talk to to provide information," Mathieson told CBC.

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