The JCPenney store at Mount Berry Mall is on the list of stores being closed by the struggling retailer.
It is the second anchor to leave the mall. Sears was first as the company shuttered the retailer in March 2016. By August of that year, another part of the company — Kmart — was closing the Rome store. The Kmart site off Turner McCall is now being redevelopment into East Bend retail center.
A post on the JC Penney salon Facebook page Thursday evening shared the bad news:
“It is with a sad heart I am sharing this information. Although we don’t have the details surrounding this event, we are included in this store closing list. I will continue to update on our page as more information is presented.”
A corporate post mentions what happens next, including the store closing sale:
“Following entry of an order at the June 11, 2020, hearing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Corpus Christi, Texas, store closing sales will begin at 154 locations. The Company expects additional phases of store closing sales will begin in the coming weeks. As the Company remains focused on its Plan for Renewal and driving sustainable, profitable growth, it intends to reduce its store footprint and focus resources on its strongest stores and powerful eCommerce flagship store, jcp.com. Store closing sales for the first round of store closures are expected to take 10-16 weeks to complete.”
The Georgia closing list, from Penney, follows this announcement:
“Following a comprehensive review of our retail footprint, JCPenney made the difficult decision to close 154 stores. We will continue to operate the majority of our stores and our flagship store, jcp.com, to ensure our valued customers continue to have access to the products and brands they need and want. Please see below for a list of closing locations.”
Mount Berry Mall
The closure is another major hit for Mount Berry, which has been looking at plans to demolish the former Sears wing to help with a new redevelopment plan. On May 19, the mall posted this note about stores that had reopened as some of Georgia’s shelter-in-place restrictions were rolled back:
American Eagle, Auntie Anne’s, Belk, Buckle, Cato, Chick-fil-A, China Max, Claire’s, Dunham’s, Gadget, Great American Cookies, Hibbett, Japan Cafe, Journeys, La Michoana, Milano’s Pizza, Q Nails, Rack Room, and Shoe Dept.
The mall is owned by Hull Property Group. Hull’s Coles Doyle had these comments Thursday night:
“JCPenney has been closing stores across the country due to declining sales over the past few years. The pandemic escalated mass closures for JCPenney and many other vulnerable national retailers with underlying financial troubles that existed well before this year. However, the loss of JCPenney is not a reflection on Rome or the Mount Berry Mall but instead, it is a reflection of the new realities of the retail.
Retail is always changing as customer needs and tastes evolve and we are experiencing another shift. However, when one door closes another opens and this can be an opportunity to reimagine and reconfigure the Mall and the overall property with the specific needs of the community in mind. Communities in smaller markets have a vital interest in keeping their retail corridors viable. We know that shoppers don’t want a retail model where retail stores are only in urban markets – requiring those in smaller markets to either shop online or drive 45 miles away to do so.
We see the future of retail in small markets being more community-based. Now is a great opportunity for regional and local businesses and entrepreneurs to fill the retail void with ideas that extend beyond chain retail stores into healthcare, fitness, food, baked goods, specialty shops, apparel boutiques, maker spaces and ventures, experiences and other internet businesses that can benefit from a physical presence. We have developed a small business initiative called the American Dream Project (www.dreambighere.com) where we endeavor to facilitate the business vision and dreams of all kinds of different businesses who could benefit from physical space. We believe this is the future of the Mount Berry Mall.
A collaborative effort and consensus among community leadership and stakeholders, surrounding property owners and the Mall will create an environment where we can use this setback to create an opportunity for successful businesses to serve the Rome community.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Pier 1 announced its closing. The 9,520-square-foot store at Riverbend Center in Rome is vacant and the phone number disconnected. The company’s website included this update: “Pier 1 announced on May 18, 2020 that it has filed a motion seeking court approval to begin an orderly wind-down of the company’s retail operations as soon as reasonably possible after store locations are able to reopen following mandated closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cCompany expects to continue serving customers in its stores through early fall 2020. Store closing dates will vary by location.”