Mygofer closes in Joliet
By Bob Okon email@example.com February 11, 2013 1:49PM
Exterior of the closed Mygofer store in Joliet, Illinois, Monday, February 11, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 13, 2013 6:20AM
The Mygofer store in Joliet has closed, ending a venture that tried to combine brick-and-mortar retailing with online convenience.
Sears Holding Corp. CEO Edward Lampert described Mygofer as the possible future of the company when the Joliet pilot store opened in early 2009. Lampert also cautioned that the “devil is in the details,” and the store’s closing indicates Sears was not able to make the combo concept work.
Mygofer customers could order Sears and Kmart merchandise online and pick it up at the store. Or, they could have it delivered at home. Customers could also come into the store and shop on computers for items stored on-site.
Sears envisioned the store as offering customers more options between traditional and online shopping. In-store kiosks and employees would even help traditional customers who were not quite comfortable with online buying.
Mygofer is not dead, a Sears spokesman said.
It’s still alive as an online retail service for customers who want to buy merchandise from Sears, Kmart and Lands’ End for home delivery or pick-up at local stores.
But the unique Mygofer mix of brick-and-mortar with online retailing appears to have ended with the closing of the Joliet store Thursday. It was the company’s only Mygofer store.
A Kmart pharmacy will continue to operate out of the location until March 8.
Seventeen employees worked at the store.
Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said the Joliet store provided the company with “a variety of robust insights,” and Sears is looking at new ways to create a physical “presence” for Mygofer.
But, he added, “Customers are shopping more and more online, and half of our company’s growth has involved multi-channel. We will continue to focus on that trend as we meet our customers and member’s shopping needs.”
Riefs said Sears is “evaluating possibilities for the future use” of the Joliet location.
The store at 2700 Plainfield Road was a Kmart store before it was converted to Mygofer.
It’s also a prime retail site, located in the Louis Joliet Pointe shopping center outside of the Louis Joliet Mall.
Mayor Thomas Giarrante said the city will look for new occupants. He said city officials already had been suggesting to developers that the Mygofer site is a potential opportunity, “because we were aware that they were not doing well.”
Developers “like the location, but it was not available,” Giarrante said.
The city has been trying to attract new restaurants and retailers to Joliet and was successful in bringing Tony’s Finer Foods to a vacated supermarket building on Route 59.
Giarrante said the mall area is a prime market, but developers have noted there is not much space left. Mygofer’s closing could open up a large amount of space, although it’s not clear what other plans Sears might have for the location.
The 17 employees who worked there, Riefs said, can apply for positions elsewhere in the company.