J.C. Penney is closing a bunch of stores, but one Minnesota city is fighting to save theirs.
The Thief River Falls Chamber of Commerce has started a Change.org petition to keep the store in the city, despite J.C. Penney having announced last week that the Thief River Falls location will be among the eight stores in Minnesota to close.
In the petition, which is addressed to J.C. Penney Executive Vice President Joe McFarland, the Chamber of Commerce says it believes the store is a "huge asset" to the community, noting that there's "tremendous potential" for the store because there aren't many clothing stores in the area – and J.C. Penney is the only one that sells men's and children's clothes.
In addition to being a store people depend on, the chamber says the fact that Thief River Falls is growing as a reason for J.C. Penney to remain open, noting the city is adding jobs, apartments and is working on revitalizing the downtown area.
"... The Thief River Falls J.C. Penney should continue its legacy of being a vital clothing store for our region and remain open for business; this we implore of J.C. Penney because our local store truly holds a special place in our community's heart," the petition concludes.
The chamber is encouraging people to show their support for the store and sign the petition. As of Monday morning, there were 1,940 signatures.
More on the closings
In all, the company is closing 138 stores across the U.S., dropping them below 1,000 locations overall. It’s also closing one distribution facility, and relocating another.
J.C. Penney says about 5,000 employees will be affected, likely in June. Some “esteemed leaders” could get the opportunity to keep working at different locations, and the company is also instituting a voluntary early retirement program for eligible workers.
Most stores will start the liquidation process on April 17.
The locations being closed are either barely making any money, or will need a lot of investment to bring them up to the “new brand standard” of J.C. Penney, the company said. The stores make up less than 5 percent of J.C. Penney’s annual sales.