County Seat

Do you remember County Seat?

Jack J. Crocker, then the CEO of SuperValu supermarkets, founded the chain in 1973 in Dallas, Texas. Appropriate for the pun in its name, County Seat specialized in blue jeans and other casual wear. In 1977, the chain grew to 183 stores, and also began to sell sports clothing.

In 1983, it was sold to the Carson Pirie Scott department store chain of Chicago, which bought County Seat for $71 million. Two years later, Carson Pirie Scott acquired the 19-store Pants Corral store from Giant Food of Landover, Maryland, and converted these to County Seat.

Carson Pirie Scott redesigned the chain’s stores with matte black fixtures and re-focused the merchandise line to target high schoolers. The chain had 415 stores in 1989, at which point Bergner’s acquired Carson Pirie Scott and sold County Seat to a new management team.

Wet Seal offered to buy 508 stores of the County Seat chain in 1996 but was rejected. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 1996 and began to close stores. County Seat filed for bankruptcy again in 1999.

The Rise & Fall of County Seat

County Seat was Founded

County Seat Store was founded in 1973 and the first store opened in Minneapolis. Beginning as an offspring of the grocery store chain Super Valu Stores, County Seat was intended as a budget-priced chain of stores offering casual clothes for the entire family, with about 3,500 square feet per store. The stores featured Levi jeans and other Levi apparel and had a distinct country western look with a rustic wood décor.

The End of County Seat

Ultimately, the company was forced to close or sell all of its remaining locations by 1999.

Click through the gallery above for some of the most popular forgotten retail spots that are now gone, but never forgotten. Did we miss one of your favorites? Share your memories in the comments.

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