There has been a lot of photos circulating recently, on various media outlets showing the empty shelves at Sears, who once supplied the appliances for 50% of the homes in the US. Water heaters have always been a big part of Sears, in fact they have their own brand of heaters called Kenmore.
In order to get parts for a Kenmore water heater you must go through Sears. You can’t really work on a Kenmore unit if you don’t have the replacement gaskets or proper part. The thermocouple for a Kenmore is not universal as is with many other types of water heaters. If these guys ever go out of business you may not be able to get the parts for repair.
One of the most common problems with Kenmore water heaters is actually a very simple fix. On some of the newer models there is an intake cover that can be taken off and cleaned. By removing the old cobwebs and dust you can usually get the pilot to light again.