|A cross-section of part of 'Searsville'|
But have you ever heard of Searsville?
No, it wasn't a real town - not in the usual sense. The Sears mail order division home office in Chicago was the subject of a Popular Mechanics article in May 1943. It was the size of a small city, and they called it Searsville. Searsville had its own hospital, bank, its own newspaper and police and fire departments. It even got its water supply from its very own private well.
|Not clapping to the music|
My favorite part of the 1940s Searsville is this: four times a day, band music was played through the loud speakers to cheer and energize everyone - don't you just love that? They did have to stop playing "Deep in the Heart of Texas," though, the shipping department manager explained, because "They all stopped to clap their hands."
Sears came to Canada in 1952 when the department store Simpson's joined with Sears to strengthen the Simpson's mail-order catalogue and help develop stores in parts of Canada which had neither a Simpson's nor, of course, a Sears. Buy the 1970s, Simpson-Sears stores were known just by the name of Sears - to avoid confusion. I know I would have been confused. I came to Canada in the 1980s and remember shopping occasionally at Simpson's - usually around Christmas time. And I'm sure the Sears association did strengthen the Simpson's catalogue sales - how could it not, with a home office like Searsville? Just as long as they played a little John Philip Sousa in the mail room - not "Deep in the Heart of Texas" - I'm sure that they were just fine.