SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (8/8/2019) - The end of Sears' 50-year run in Saginaw Township means a new opportunity awaits for Fashion Square Mall, according to the general manager.
Sears is closing the store, which joined the mall in 1972, and will begin liquidation sales later this month. The Sears Auto Center outside the mall on Bay Road is closing in a matter of weeks.
Sears filed for bankruptcy in 2018, but the Fashion Square Mall store survived a number of closure announcements over the years. Now it joins 25 other Sears and Kmart stores in the latest round of closures.
"It's not something we haven't been preparing for for quite some time now," said Saginaw Township Community Development Director Steve King.
The Sears Auto Center site may already have a new life with a Texas Roadhouse restaurant, which would occupy most of the frontage along Bay Road in front of Sears.
Fashion Square Mall General Manager Paul Martin said the owners have "full confidence" they will fill the main Sears store with something else.
"Hopefully we will bring in some new tenants," he said. "We usually do around the holiday season."
The mall's other two anchor stores, Macy's and J.C. Penney, will remain for the foreseeable future.
"From conversations with local management is our Macy's store in Saginaw Township is doing great comparatively," he said.
A spokesman for J.C. Penney said no further store closings are planned in the near future.
While big box stores and malls continue to take hits in this online age, there's still hope for the mall, as 60,000 vehicles pass by every day on the Bay and Tittabwassee roads corridor.
"Location, location,.location. Fashion Square Mall has the best, and we anticipate good things for Fashion Square Mall in the future," Martin said.