This was a shock to some owners of Sears Hometown, most of which are independent franchise companies.
"I thought we would have a better day when Sears went bankrupt, as we were told," said one owner of an Alabama store to CNN Business. "We learned differently the next day after the bankruptcy, when we wondered why we did not get the expected delivery, we probably had no inventory for 10 weeks."
The average store of Sears Hometown is only 8,000 to 10,000 square feet, a fraction of the size of the average full Sears, which is about 160,000 square feet. Sears Hometown sells tools as well as outdoor products and equipment.
Sears Hometown has never stopped being dependent on Sears Holdings. Most of its goods, logistics and advertising support came from Sears Holdings. Eddie Lampert, CEO and Chairman of Sears until his bankruptcy, remains majority shareholder of Sears Hometown.
The owners of the hometown franchise earn their money with commissions on their sales. And franchise owners have invested in their stores with the promise of making healthy commissions. The two owners, who spoke to CNN Business, said that in some cases, the investments exceeded $ 100,000 per store.
"Sears employees are losing their jobs and we are losing our lives," said a former owner of three West Coast businesses. "You stay on the job when it comes to leases, other bills - utilities, payroll, taxes - Sears Hometown has the inventory, you only have liabilities."
The owner of the Alabama store said he has lost $ 93,000 since the beginning of October. He said he worked in three jobs, more than 100 hours a week, to pay his own bills and keep his employees at work. He plans to close his shop later this month and hopes to reopen it as an independent appliance store.
In its December earnings report, Sears Hometown stated that the company, despite Sears Holdings Bankruptcy. It did not matter what it or its owners would do if Sears was pushed out of business.
Many doubt that Sears Hometown can survive a Sears liquidation.
"Theoretically, they could try to sell other brands, but the business model would be much more difficult," said Mark Cohen the Director of Retail Studies at Columbia Business School and a former CEO of Sears Canada. "You are not insolvent, but if Sears goes into liquidation, this business is likely to be next."