A couple of days ago, I saw the shocking news that Sears was selling its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker. To anyone with even a vague interest in working on cars during the last half of the 20th century, Craftsman is a legendary brand, the tool with a lifetime guarantee. At one time, Craftsman tools were a standard bearer in the world of tools, rivaled only by Snap-On and Mac among my gearhead friends in the ’90s.
For many who remember life before the internet, Craftsman is synonymous with Sears; the brand was only available at Sears stores until Sears acquired K-Mart and began limited Craftsman tools sales through K-Mart’s retail stores.
The good news is, Craftsman is going to be around for at least 15 more years, or so the sales agreement stipulates; Sears was granted exclusive royalty-free retail rights to Stanley’s new Craftsman line of tools for the next next decade and a half. Stanley Black & Decker itself is optimistic about Craftsman’s future, seeing a potential for an expansion of the brand as it brings its products to a wider market.
More recently, Craftsman was the longstanding title sponsor of NASCAR’s Truck Series, a form of motorsports itself caught in a rapid decline that mirrors Craftsman’s.
What happened? The world simply evolved without it. Let that be a lesson to us all.