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SETX stores remain open amid Sears bankruptcy

Nine of the 142 stores that were announced Monday to close by the end of the year are in Texas. Yet, Beaumont and Port Arthur are not on that list and will continue to operate normally.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS — Some customers in Southeast Texas held their breath after hearing Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Beaumont Sears customer Wally Valdez says "I don't know what to say about that, where else would I go?"

A legitimate concern, considering 142 stores are expected to close by the end of the year.

MORE | "Sears store closing list: 142 more Sears, Kmart locations closing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy"

Beaumont and Port Arthur however are safe, not appearing on the list.

"It would just be sad to see people lose their jobs, says Beaumont Sears customer Maryjane Valdez. "Unfortunately, people are talking about shutdowns and closing stores."

Sears Holdings, who own Sears and Kmart, have 687 locations left in operation as of today.

The remaining stores plan to continue to stay open under the new smaller business structure, but it's a possibility the trend of losses and debt could close the company down completely.

If that were the case, president and CEO of the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Bill McCoy says the loss of jobs would hurt more than revenue lost.

"If you've been in retail all your life and you're over 40, it's kind of hard to change directions," says McCoy. "I think the human impact is going to be greater than the economic impact."

Customers in Beaumont can't envision their store shutting its doors.

"I just don't think this one will close," says Wally Valdez. "This sears in Beaumont, it's hard for somebody like me to do without it. I've been going to sears since the 50s for one thing or another."

Potential closures to the stores in Parkdale and Central malls could be difficult to replace.

"I don't know of any plans in place if the Sears were to close," says McCoy. "It would be difficult to find a retail store to take that much space."

For now, customers in Beaumont and Port Arthur can exhale and continue to shop.

MORE | "Sears is in trouble: What shoppers should do as the company files for bankruptcy"

However, experts encourage people to grab appliances and items now with the uncertainty of the company's sustainability.

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