Sears closing at Tyrone Square mall; employee of 49 years forced to say goodbye

Store closing on Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Since he stared working at the age of 29 at the Sears at Tyrone Square Mall, Leroy Lampley put his best foot  forward.            

"My main goal is taking care of customers, that is my main joy," said Lampley.

And that's exactly what's Lampley's done at the Sears store for 49 years.

Dawn Smith's parents started bringing her to the Sears since she was in diapers.

"So we have known Leroy, I have known him my whole life," said Smith. "It will  be sad that they will be closing."

The announcement came several months ago and this store will close in the last week of January.

But's it's not the shopping Smith and many others will miss.

"Oh yeah, people just come in whether to buy anything I came in to see him," said Smith.

In the time we spent with Lampley at least a couple dozen stopped in just to shake his hand like Felix and Rose Marie Strachen.

"This is what it is all about. He is the foundation. He is the man," said Strachen.

From purchasing to selling tools Lampley has done it all. There from the beginning he's seen it all too.

"Everyone in town came to Sears," he said with a smile.

He fondly recalls it as the  place to shop and be seen when it first opened it's doors in 1968.

"We had pets, we had a gun shop, we had a five star restaurant, we sold fur coats," said Lampley.

Sears scaled back merchandise and through the years after the stores saw slumping sales.

Corporate not only shut down this store but dozens across the country.

Lampley points to one reason.

"Online purchasing," he said.

The company cited millions in losses. For Lampley there's no price tag on the joy he's gotten. And at 77, he's still not quite ready to hang up his hat for good.

"I am going to take some time off," said Lampley.

And who knows. He might be back at this very spot. It's still a secret but Tyrone Square Mall plans to fill the space.

"It has been a pleasure. It has been a joy working out here," said Lampley.

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