This holiday shopping season is going to be a bit different than previous ones because of the liquidation closing of our Sears store, which has had a retail presence in Joplin for almost 90 years.

The blowout sale kicked off the shopping season nearly two weeks before Black Friday with discounts as high as 40% on clothing and shoes. Everything is being marked down, including tools. You know, there are only so many holiday shopping dollars available in this market. What remains to be seen is whether this blowout will put pressure on other retailers to adopt a more aggressive posture with regard to discounts to compete.

I visited the store last Monday in search of bargains and holiday gifts. The place was packed with shoppers, and this was in the afternoon. There were lines at the cash registers. I could only imagine what it was like on Black Friday.

What struck me about my visit to Sears was the fact that shoppers had already picked up a lot of merchandise, and I looked at a lot of stuff while I was there. I settled on some tennis shoes for next year that cost about $20. There was only one pair left in my size. When I got to the counter, I found out why. Each of the three people in front of me had found some shoes too. I will visit the Sears store again before it closes for purely sentimental reasons. Nothing official yet, but the store might close in February.

This closeout includes the fixtures. When racks are emptied, they are moved to an area near the store’s restrooms and marked for sale. Looking for mannequins, you can find them here. If you were thinking about opening your own boutique — a popular trend these days — you can find the fixtures here to get you started.

On the grill

By now you have consumed so many turkey sandwiches you have lost count. Want to try something different?

When MacCheesy recently opened in its new home at 2202 S. Range Line Road, I noticed that grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup had been added to the menu. I did not have an opportunity to try them out at the time of the opening, but I made a mental note to come back when this restaurant had overcome its opening jitters and found its groove.

I don’t know about you, but the lowly grilled cheese sandwich has a special place in my heart. When it’s accompanied with tomato soup, well, you have the perfect duet. When I was growing up, this combo was a regular. Mother would open a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and place the contents into a pan with some whole milk. She would then take two thin slices of Bunny Bread and butter the sides to be grilled in a separate pan. Between the slices of bread would go a slice of American cheese. It’s that kind of cheese that comes individually wrapped in plastic. If I was lucky, I might get some Kitty Clover potato chips to go with this classic.

So, I had very high expectations. But chef Sherif Magd was up to the task. A lot of melted cheese, including some cheddar, was served between two slices of sweet Texas toast that had been perfectly grilled. This classic sandwich was big enough for two people to share. The soup was creamy with pieces of tomato in the soup. I also detected some Parmesan cheese in the soup. You know you have a home run when you can dunk a corner of your sandwich into your soup and come up with the perfect flavor combination.

The sandwich and cup of soup cost $9.99 without tax. Right now through Jan. 31, you can use an in-store coupon to get a free cup of soup to go with a grilled cheese sandwich. The basic sandwich costs $5.99.

MacCheesy will have a ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. Thursday. The event will feature a prize wheel for specials that day.

Logo unveiling

After four months of accepting logo design submissions for the Joplin Arts District from artists and professional graphic designers, a design has been chosen.

The logo will be unveiled during a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Spiva Center for the Arts, Third Street and Wall Avenue. Linda Teeter, a local arts coordinator, will introduce the logo design team.

The Joplin Arts District consists of 56 downtown blocks. The logo will be used for marketing purposes and on signs that will promote the district, which is bordered by B Street on the north, 12th Street on the south, Wall Avenue on the west and Pennsylvania Avenue on the east.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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