Digital Exclusive: Escalators are slowly fading into Sioux City’s history books

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Siouxlanders may have seen many escalators long ago in buildings in the city but are now slowly fading away into the history books.

HOM Furniture in downtown Sioux City removed their escalators from their building in fall 2020, after the down escalator broke beyond repair, earlier last year.

“To replace the pair of escalators, it was going to approach $1 million, and that’s not feasible for our company. So, the ongoing cost of an escalator and the electricity it uses, and the maintenance contracts that you have. So, we decided a staircase would look much better,” said Kyle Chance, HOM Furniture.

Kyle Chance, sales manager at HOM Furniture, said the removal of the escalators from the building took around four to six weeks, with most of the parts being recycled.

The escalators were in the building since it was built in the mid-1980s and re-operated by the store from 2008 to late 2020.

“In a safety aspect, not the most safe mode of transportation. You have moving steps and it’s dangerous for little kids. If your mobility is maybe impaired a little bit, it’s hard to get on it and time it right,” said Chance.

But there is still one place in Sioux City that still operates escalators, and that’s at the MidAmerican Energy building, across the street from HOM Furniture.

“We’ve had the escalators in that building for a really simple reason, and that’s because they’re functional. Obviously, they help people go up and go down easily. When you got several floors, that makes life easier for employees who have to go up or down,” said Geoff Greenwood, MidAmerican Energy.

Geoff Greenwood, media relations manager for MidAmerican Energy, said the four sets of escalators were installed in the building in 1980 and still has all original equipment.

If there’s a problem with the escalators, Greenwood mentions, not only is it hard to get parts, but sometimes it’s impossible to get parts because they have to be custom made to be reinstalled.

“And then if it doesn’t work right, if it goes down, that can sometimes last several weeks. It can be a big hairy deal if our maintenance people need to fix something on an escalator,” said Greenwood.

MidAmerican Energy has decided that they will take out those escalators and replace them with staircases in 2025.

For HOM Furniture, having a new staircase adds more space to their showroom, gives a modern appearance to the store, and brings them into a new era.

“It’s OK to walk up steps, and it’s a good exercise. It’s a nice way to present our store when you come in. It’s going to be an absolutely beautiful entrance,” said Kyle Chance, HOM Furniture.

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