Feb 25, 2021 - Health

Sears stores find new life as COVID-19 vaccination sites

An empty Sears store in Florida, now a mass vaccination site.

A former Sears store in Leesburg, Florida. LPhoto by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

A number of abandoned Sears locations have gotten a second life as COVID-19 vaccination centers, converted from community blights to community saviors.

Why it matters: Empty department stores can be ideal locations for mass vaccinations, given their size, central location and available parking.

By the numbers: Sears had more than 3,500 physical stores in 2010, but its footprint will shrink to less than 200 by year-end.

  • Former Sears stores are being used for vaccinations in more than a dozen states, including in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota and New Jersey.

History: Founded in 1892, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, exiting a year later with a different corporate structure and fewer stores.

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