ST. ALBANS CITY — JCPenney is closing its doors after 87 years in St. Albans City. The 30 employees working in the local store will be offered employment in the South Burlington University Mall location.
The first Penney’s store, then number 995 in the chain, opened to much fanfare in St. Albans on Sept. 21, 1928 at 64-66 N. Main St.
Marty Manahan, director of business development for St. Albans City, confirmed this morning that the company has not renewed its lease for its current location in the St. Albans Shopping Plaza where the store has been for 40 years.
What is not yet known is a timeline for the store closing or the number of employees who will lose their jobs. An Oshkosh, Wis., store closing announced there yesterday said its doors would close in April.
The local store is among 33 stores around the country being closed by the company.
“It certainly provides us with an opportunity,” said Manahan.
The closing comes after news the Staples store in the Highgate Commons Shopping Plaza will be leaving later this month.
Connie Furman, widow of longtime store manager George Furman, laid responsibility for the closing of the stores on Ron Johnson, the controversial CEO who lasted only 17 months as the head of the company. “I really believe it’s because Ron Johnson put so much money in the large stores,” she said, neglecting smaller stores like the one in St. Albans.
It’s currently unknown if the opening of Walmart last year impacted sales at the local store, which prior to Walmart’s arrival reportedly had one of the highest sales per square foot in the entire chain.
“This store still makes money,” said Furman.