Joshua Englert worked at the Kmart in McMurray, Pennsylvania, for half of his life. Then, he said goodbye as the store closed its doors for good.
It was a bittersweet day for both shoppers and employees, but the closing chapter especially resonated with the dedicated 34-year-old general manager, who began clocking in for his shifts as a cashier since he was 16.
Englert marked the store's final day of operation with an emotional speech.
He posted a video of his poignant speech on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
Everyone seemed to be moved watching him fight back tears in his heartfelt closing announcement.
"Attention Kmart shoppers. The time is now 4:25 and your McMurray Kmart will be closing for the last time in just five minutes," he said, doing his best to maintain his composure.
"I wanted to take this opportunity not to sell you 40-cent plaid skirts or 5-cent panties, but instead to thank you for supporting a lifetime of memories."
A reminder that even wise business decisions affect real people. https://t.co/tVRT0Ohd6Y— Nate Johnson (@Nate Johnson)1539960063.0
I’m not crying 😭😭 https://t.co/PGlNOG1YRb— Danielle (@Danielle)1539997015.0
This store is near my house. I shopped here often over the last two decades. Sorry to see it go, and the employees… https://t.co/yjgyBydvlU— Ryan Smith (@Ryan Smith)1540007515.0
Sears Holdings, Kmart's parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday and announced they would be closing 142 unprofitable stores by the end of the year.
The company suffered financial losses and had been struggling to stay afloat despite CEO Eddie Lampert's decision to siphon his own money to pay off the debt.
Sears files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to close 142 stores Sears Holdings bankruptcy protection in a last-d… https://t.co/a2uBX2C9Jf— Ken Donahue (@Ken Donahue)1540134302.0
According to Trib Live, Englert told WOGI-FM 104.3 (Froggy Radio) he was known for making "wild and exciting" announcements at the store.
Over the years, he developed a close relationship with his co-workers and considered them family.
"It hit me when I realized that we'd be splitting up, and that's what I got emotional about," he told the news station.
"These people have definitely changed me. I just wanted to make sure they knew what they meant to me."
Many appreciated Englert's dedication and good work ethic.
@nsj Work honestly done is honorable.— Ann Moyle (@Ann Moyle)1540056199.0
@AnnMoyle @nsj Hear, hear, Ann! I'm in school now for a white-collar-type job, but its the blue-collar jobs I've wo… https://t.co/F9xUKSiiay— Phobos Anomaly (@Phobos Anomaly)1540086660.0
@danielledavid12 This man would be an asset to any employer lucky enough to get him.— Pixie Poe (@Pixie Poe)1540064215.0
@danielledavid12 Somebody buy that man a beer 😭— Matt (@Matt)1540058730.0
Have pride in your work wherever you work. There is no price on the benefits he's rec'd. Kmart employee chokes up… https://t.co/2KZcb2N3UN— Von B. (@Von B.)1540008100.0
I hope this man received sincere job offers. Eighteen years dedicated to one employer is to be commended. https://t.co/L1QBryH5qY— Tanya G (@Tanya G)1539979025.0
@CocoaKimchi Me too. This is near my house, and worked with him to set up scouting fundraisers at our this store. V… https://t.co/t0qQQKzTHH— Debra Grove (@Debra Grove)1540060553.0
Sears began as a watch retailer business started by Richard Sears in 1866 and later evolved into a retail giant by becoming the first "everything" store that sold clothing, hardware, and furniture.
The mail-order plant on Chicago's West Side opened its first retail store in 1925 and grew to become one of the largest U.S. retailers.
Sadly, Sears and many other stores like Toys "R" Us have been unable to keep up with online consumerism, and as a result, have been forced to close many of their doors.
The announcement of Sears' bankruptcy comes almost a decade after Lampert merged the 125-year-old retailer with Kmart in the hopes of transforming the two fledgling stores into a profitable venture and competitor to Amazon. But the strategy came too late and proved futile.
Englert's poignant video has so far gained 30,000 views and hundreds of shares. He said he was surprised by all the attention his speech received, but he easily understands the responses.
"It was a raw moment," he said. "And that brings people together."