Jenny Daversa and Mamie Ruback both had been with Sears, Roebuck & Co. since 1944.
Tom Scanlan had been on the job inside the Erie Boulevard store since 1941. John Santill had been a company man since 1931.
The antique Sears car that showed up in Schenectady in the middle of February in 1947 had them all beat for longevity. The old motor with wooden wheels and without a roof had rolled out of a Sears auto plant in 1901.
The car made a comeback on Feb. 13, complete with four guys playing goggle-wearing auto adventurers. It was a stunt to attract shoppers into the store for a three-day “Old Timers’ Days” sale. Owner Frank Longe of Schenectady loaned the car to its parent company, and was happy to let people compare the 46-year-old car to the sleek tanks on the road in 1947.
The car stayed outside. The Sears brass wanted people inside.
‘Meeting’ the staff
Company advertising men had published photos of its young and old timers in the Schenectady Gazette. That’s how readers and shoppers learned Daversa and Ruback managed the wallpaper and housewares departments, respectively. Scanlan was the furniture man; Santill knew plumbing and heating.
Daversa was selling 18-inch long sheets of kitchen and bedroom paper for 35 and 32 cents each. Ruback hoped to interest shoppers in Dutch ovens for $2.98.
Scanlan’s furniture sales force was moving five-piece breakfast sets for $59.95. Santill’s prize was an electric, glass-lined, 30-gallon water heater — a steal for $99.50.
The heaters are probably not in service anymore. Neither, presumably, is the 1901 Sears-Roebuck Special.