Don't cry for Sears Tower, Chicago

Jul 21, 2009 Read more: Chicago Tribune 44
The populists are back in force. We see them whining about the renaming of Sears Tower -- now Willis Tower and owned by a British insurance company. Read more
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Randall Krause

Fairport, NY

#1 Jul 22, 2009
First of all, Willis Group sought at $3.5 million TIF subsidy from the City of Chicago. That was their one glaring error, because now the name change does become a public concern. If Willis Group simply moved into the tower entirely of their own accord, they could claim any rights they want -- because it's a private transaction. But the moment they sought relief in the form of a TIF subsidy, the public has every right to analyze and criticize how their money is being spent. The taxpayers provided Willis Group the incentive and the means for this move. Willis Group then strips the historic name that Chicagoans wanted to preserve and argues that they are doing great things for Chicago. How? Taking public money and using it as an investment for their firm's arrogance?

Randall Krause
www.searstower.org
blue state

Philadelphia, PA

#2 Jul 22, 2009
lame writing. lame rollover city.
Jim

Chicago, IL

#3 Jul 22, 2009
I don't think this writing is at all well researched in terms of Sears or Globalization. I can think of a couple of dozen others who could write better on these topics.
Since the author brings it up, what's interesting is to contrast Frangos and Fannie May Meltaways. Similar candies, both were produced for generations in Chicago by Chicagoans. Frangos weren't even invented here but in Seattle. Their owners retired and approached Marshall Field's about acquiring them due to Field's reputation. It seems no other buyer would do.
The manufacture of Frangos and Meltaways have left Chicago. Chicagoans are still snapping up Meltaways--perhaps more than ever; yet when Frango production left, there were boycotts and protest activities. Why? Not because they were made in Chicago but because they were made at Marshall Field's. Frangos were made in the great store that represented Chicago culture at it's best. As one travel guide put it, Cubs and White Sox fans alike are united in their sadness about the loss of Marshall Field's. A just completed survey of 522 Chicago shoppers on Michigan Avenue and State Street showed that 78% still prefer Marshall Field's over Macy's and would shop there more (or again after ceasing) if Field' were brought back in quality, service, merchandise mix, as well as name.(See http://www.FieldsFansChicago.org for full details.)
Part of globalization is a celebration of local cultures that can be experienced world-wide. That might mean Rowandan baskets sold in Chicago or Seattle chocolate mints made in a Chicago department store. Marshall Field's was at the forefront of globalization over century ago. If non-American culture was desecrated, we would be outraged here in the USA. Yet, Macy's has desecrated Chicago culture by getting rid of Marshall Field's. We should be just as outraged.
Sure, Sears hasn't been in the tower for years, but it has become separated from it's department store heritage. It became a monument to our city. That a company from London and come in and take it in conquest suggests that we shouldn't care where we live or have any involvement in our community.
Ozzie_Guillen

Atlanta, GA

#4 Jul 22, 2009
Lame puke sellouts.
Marianne

Villa Park, IL

#5 Jul 22, 2009
Some people's attitude toward detrimental change is "whatever." But there's nothing wrong with wanting to preserve one's history and culture, especially things that are truly special. The biggest loss to Chicago in recent years has been Marshall Field's, and a recent poll showed that 78% prefer Field's to Macy's. Wherever I go, people are still talking about it. It will never go away until everyone who remembers Field's dies off. Sad to think no one will know what we've lost.
birdwriter

Bellwood, IL

#6 Jul 22, 2009
I don't understand the frequent comparisons between Sears/Willis and Field's/Macy's. Willis took the name off of one building, but the Sears name is still present and respected in Chicago. Macy's terminated the name, laid off thousands of employees, and completely changed the merchandise and target demographic. I too wish the tower's name would not change, and it will always be "Sears Tower" to me, but I don't feel the loss is any where near the scale of the loss of Field's.

With Macys' takeover, we lost an iconic Chicago presence, jobs, tax revenue, and tourist dollars. Maybe those folks who shrug it off and speak derisively against those who continue to mourn the loss don't understand concepts such as brand loyalty, historical significance, and most importantly, market differentiation. Why on earth would anyone shop Macy's in Chicago? They're everywhere, and apparently not very well respected in many of their markets.

Note to author: globalization does not have to equal blandness and lack of regional identity. I work for a global company, and we respect and appreciate the diversity of the markets we enter. We listen, learn, and find a way to service our customers within the constraints of their culture.

Of course, we could take Macy's approach and tell them to do it our way, and yell "get over it" when they complain....
Spector

Chicago, IL

#7 Jul 22, 2009
What is the point of this untimely "editorial"? Just a platform for Mr. Schell to hear himself talk? To share his base, philistine views on architectural design and his mocking of Chicagoans who actually still have pride in their city? Those Chicagoans even willing to protest over the city's loss of identity to foreign carpetbaggers the likes of Willis, or even worse, that disgraceful "Macy's" company?

I remember when the Tribune was a world-class newspaper. I guess we should steel ourselves to its eventual demise or takeover by a foreign newspaper.

Thanks for the prophetic advice, Mr. Schell....
JasonM

Chicago, IL

#8 Jul 23, 2009
I can't believe the ignorance of journalists who say (any) "change is good." This mentality of "not being with the times" just because one has the respect for the past is outrageous! World-class cities respect the past... London, Paris, New Orleans... even small towns like Butte Montana! Chicagoans deserve for their city to be respected and cherished. Certain things are the fabric of our city (Wrigley Field, Marshall Field's, Grant Park, and the Sears Tower). We not only have the right to voice our disdain to organizations such as Sam Zell, Macy's, the Children's Museum, and Willis that try to ruin them, we must!
Chicago born

Endicott, NY

#9 Jul 23, 2009
Yup. Just roll over when the money folks swan in and elbow you aside. That's progress! Moving with the times! Cutting edge! Pushing the envelope! Globalization! Politically correct!--enter cliche of your choice here---

Heaven knows we want to be pushed around, so as to be participating in whatever it is that's going on/down, whatever the cost because it is certain to be a Good Thing! Someone says so!

We are supposed to have no respect, let alone fondness, for our own heritage because someone says so.....we may rightly ask: who is that someone and what is that someone up to? I can think of a few historic examples of cultural muscling-in. I suppose that makes it right.
Joe

Montgomery, IL

#10 Jul 23, 2009
How do we have community building when large corporations come in and take away with a fell swoop what unites us?

It's no wonder the middle class and poor feel no connection to our city. When we do, we're told we're not being global enough.

The changes from Field's to Sears Tower are just another way that global corporations tell us to step in line, on a spiritual and psychological basis.
Joe

Montgomery, IL

#11 Jul 23, 2009
All that unites our communities now is our hatred of big corporations like Macy's and Willis and the like.

Since: Jul 09

Chicago's Gold Coast

#12 Jul 23, 2009
Actually, Frangos are being made again in Chicago by Cupid Candy on the south side. Granted, it's not the 13th floor of the Fields flagship - but they are still made in Chicago by Chicagoans.
Jim wrote:
I don't think this writing is at all well researched in terms of Sears or Globalization. I can think of a couple of dozen others who could write better on these topics.
Since the author brings it up, what's interesting is to contrast Frangos and Fannie May Meltaways. Similar candies, both were produced for generations in Chicago by Chicagoans. Frangos weren't even invented here but in Seattle. Their owners retired and approached Marshall Field's about acquiring them due to Field's reputation. It seems no other buyer would do.
The manufacture of Frangos and Meltaways have left Chicago. Chicagoans are still snapping up Meltaways--perhaps more than ever; yet when Frango production left, there were boycotts and protest activities. Why? Not because they were made in Chicago but because they were made at Marshall Field's. Frangos were made in the great store that represented Chicago culture at it's best. As one travel guide put it, Cubs and White Sox fans alike are united in their sadness about the loss of Marshall Field's. A just completed survey of 522 Chicago shoppers on Michigan Avenue and State Street showed that 78% still prefer Marshall Field's over Macy's and would shop there more (or again after ceasing) if Field' were brought back in quality, service, merchandise mix, as well as name.(See http://www.FieldsFansChicago.org for full details.)
Part of globalization is a celebration of local cultures that can be experienced world-wide. That might mean Rowandan baskets sold in Chicago or Seattle chocolate mints made in a Chicago department store. Marshall Field's was at the forefront of globalization over century ago. If non-American culture was desecrated, we would be outraged here in the USA. Yet, Macy's has desecrated Chicago culture by getting rid of Marshall Field's. We should be just as outraged.
Sure, Sears hasn't been in the tower for years, but it has become separated from it's department store heritage. It became a monument to our city. That a company from London and come in and take it in conquest suggests that we shouldn't care where we live or have any involvement in our community.

Since: Jul 09

Chicago's Gold Coast

#13 Jul 23, 2009
The author should check his facts before spouting off about globalization. Willis Group does NOT own the Sears Tower - they are leasing 140,000 square feet of office space (3 floors)- at $14.50 a square foot (an incredible deal) and paying no extra for the naming rights.

Bottom line - tenants got a bargain AND got to rename an architectural icon.

Since: Nov 07

United States

#14 Jul 23, 2009
Apparently the author feels that unless it makes money for him personally, history and culture are worthless and should be tossed out with the garbage. Every time we sacrifice local identity over profit, we become a little less human and a little more like nameless cogs in a corporate machine. Unfortunately that's the goal of some people.
BIRDWRITER

United States

#15 Jul 23, 2009
tymmas wrote:
Actually, Frangos are being made again in Chicago by Cupid Candy on the south side. Granted, it's not the 13th floor of the Fields flagship - but they are still made in Chicago by Chicagoans.
<quoted text>
Hi Tymass,

A very small percentage of total Frango production has been returned to Chicago. Cupid Candies is making ONLY one pound boxes of original Frangos, for distribution to Midwestern stores ONLY, and using a SIMILAR recipe. ALL OTHER PRODUCTION is still being done by Gertrude Hawk. This move was apparently tossing a bone to appease Chicagoans.

It's kind of a moot point, however--Macy's has trashed the brand so badly that it's not even being carried in some Macy's stores, and most of those that do carry it have small displays and no brand knowledge.

I loved Frangos, but now I'll stick with Fannie May meltaways. Even though they are no longer made in Chicago, the company that bought them respects the name and traditions, still uses the original recipes, and still uses most of the original suppliers. Their CEO said something to the effect that they weren't going to make the same mistakes Macy's made by renaming an icon and trashing brand loyalty.

Smart man.
DTL

Chicago, IL

#16 Jul 23, 2009
"Frank Schell is a Chicago-based business consultant and former banking executive."

Corection: Frank Schell is an idiot.
Eleanor Field

Tower, MN

#18 Jul 23, 2009
Sounds as though the Tribune is getting further and further away from what Chicago really means to people. The Tribune obviously has lost touch with how Chicagoans feel and does not really represent the common core of Chicago thinking.

This editorial causes me to think the Tribune has been swayed or pressured by Willis to have it be the spin-master in trying to influence Chicagoans' feelings, in much the same way the Tribune's Macy's advertising account had undue influence on the way the Trib kept defending macy's and coddling macy's in biased pro-Macy's articles and editorials.

Chicagoans cannot be fooled. Chicagoans are proud of what has made Chicago great, and neither big corporations from Ohio/New York (Macy's Inc) nor from London (Willis) can all of a sudden make Chicagoans forget Marshall Field's or the Sears Tower. Big Money corporations which think they can move in to other cities and immediately buy historical icons to call their own are ignoring the importance of brand loyalty and recognition. Chicago is Chicago because of its heritage!
Randall Krause

Fairport, NY

#19 Jul 23, 2009
Actually Willis is both London-based (global headquarters) and New York-based (North American headquarters) which of course only begs the question why then if Willis is so proud of Chicago and confident in their new namesake tower, they are reluctant to move their entire base of operations here -- instead of just a handful of regional offices. Curiouser and curiouser indeed.

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#20 Jul 23, 2009
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Let's whine a little bit more about this. Sears most likely will not be in existence by 2012, so all the hand-wringing about this non-life impacting name change is verging on moronic.
Not my real name

Grand Rapids, MI

#21 Jul 23, 2009
I am going to point out THE SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT REASON why Chicagoans, and others from out-of-state (like me) are DISGUSTED AND APPALLED by these name changes, and other changes that go along with them.

HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHIC REFERENCE AND SIGNIFICANCE!!!

For just one moment, let's never mind about lost tax revenue, downgraded merchandise, Daley's and the media's lined pockets, genericity of product, and even emotionalism EVEN THOUGH these issues are important.

For God's sake in Heaven! Leave the names and things alone! When someone in Beijing, Singapore, Katmandu, Port Au Prince, etc. has been reading about famous architectural structures, incomparable shopping destinations, etc. and others from all over the US and abroad have desired to VISIT these places, and still others have ALREADY VISITED and shared their loads of photographs with family and friends, etc. HOW IN HELL COULD A COMPANY BE SO ARROGANT, INCONSIDERATE, AND DOWNRIGHT DISRESPECTFUL TO PUT ITSELF FIRST AND ABOVE A MAJOR PORTION OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION?

DAMN IT! Textbooks, and numerous other books will have to be revised (if not tossed) because of this asininity. Confusion will overtake clarity. If FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THIS, the names and, in some cases (such as Marshall Field's), should be PRESERVED. Let me say that again:

P R E S E R V E D

Wow. What a concept. To actually PRESERVE the quality and integrity and identity of things, rather than to push for their erasure from memory and lifestyle because some arrogant we-are-all-that company wants to become KNOWN. Well, if you idiotic companies had made such inspiring and original contributions as they who BUILT AND CONCEIVED these mighty structures, then we might respect you. But for all of your apparent ignorance, we don't. And we won't.

And lastly, to Andy, Steve, and ALL other macymart sycophants: you have nothing with which to combat this truth (though you will attempt to do so by posting additional lies and spin and propaganda). THIS IS TRUTH AND I KNOW IT AND YOU KNOW IT AND EVERYONE ELSE KNOWS IT. It's just that some of CARE. You obviously don't and that is to be expected of someone with your level of ignorance.

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