PIQUA — With the parent company of Elder-Beerman headed to liquidation, it is unclear when the local store will close at the Miami Valley Centre Mall, where it has been one of the main anchor stores since the mall’s beginning.
“We have not been given official notice yet,” Peggy Henthorn, regional manager of Mid-America Management, the owner of the Miami Valley Centre Mall, said on Wednesday.
Henthorn said that they had previously been working with the bankruptcy court to help keep Elder-Beerman at the mall.
On Feb. 4, Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., the parent company of Elder-Beerman, and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
“It’s now beyond our control,” Henthorn said.
Bon-Ton Stores announced the winning bid in a bankruptcy court-supervised auction for the company’s assets. According to a press release, the joint bidder of Great American Group, LLC and Tiger Capital Group, LLC will acquire the inventory and certain other assets of the Bon-Ton Stores, which they are expected to liquidate.
In a press release, Bill Tracy, president and chief executive officer of Bon-Ton Stores, said, “While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve.
“We are incredibly grateful to all of our associates for their dedicated service to Bon-Ton and to our millions of loyal customers who we have had the pleasure to serve as their hometown store for more than 160 years.”
Throughout the court-supervised asset sale process, the Bon-Ton Stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates will remain open throughout the store closing sales, according to their press release. Bon-Ton expects to provide more details about the liquidation plans and going-out-of-business sales at its stores following approval of the winning bid by the bankruptcy court.
Henthorn said that she has been in communication with the manager at the mall’s location of Elder-Beerman, who has been with Elder-Beerman for over 30 years.
“She plans to stay on until the end,” Henthorn said. “It’s been a really rough day today and yesterday.”
Henthorn said that the employees at Elder-Beerman will miss their customers the most, as they have the same customers that come in every week.
“They’re going to miss that relationship,” Henthorn said.
Elder-Beerman has been with the mall since its beginning in 1988. “They’ve been a definite asset,” Henthorn said.
She said that the retail world is changing and that they “are rethinking the way the mall functions as a whole.” She added that the owners of the mall are committed to doing what they need to do to keep the mall open.
“There’s still interest out there,” Henthorn said.
The mall has weathered the closing of an anchor store before, with the closing of Steve & Barry’s, which went out of business in 2008 and 2009. They subsequently were able to bring in Dunham’s to become a new anchor store.
“We feel very positive about bouncing back,” Henthorn said.
A press release from Mid-America Management said that they are disappointed at the recent announcement of the closing and liquidation of all Bon Ton stores. The press release went on to say:
“As owners of the mall since 1993 we have seen many changes in retail both locally and nationally. The Mid-America Management Corporation’s commitment to the mall and the city of Piqua remains as strong as ever.
“We have been in talks with other businesses about locating to our mall and enjoying its many attributes, including the outstanding City of Piqua in the center of the Miami Valley.
“We hope to announce several positive improvements in the near future. Thank you for your continued support of Miami Valley Centre Mall and the many fine merchants who remain to serve you.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org