RICHMOND HEIGHTS - They're not going down without a fight!
After months of speculation, J.C. Penney announced the company is closing its location in Richmond Town Square Mall, as well as three others in Ohio.
But at least in Richmond Heights, they're ready for a Battle Royale.
"Either step up or shut up. And we're not people to shut up. We are going to fight," says Leisa Russell, Asset Manager for Richmond Town Square Mall.
And that's the Northeastern Ohio spirit for you.
Especially considering she just learned…from us…that after losing Macy's, then Sears, J.C. Penney is pulling the rug out from under them.
"Just because they're saying that, doesn't mean that decision can't be reversed," says Leisa.
Despite reaching out to Penney's Thursday afternoon, and being misled. Even tracking down the mall's owner in New York.
"They haven't given any indication to you at all?" I asked him by phone.
"I will be having another conversation by the end of the month, and by then I should have an indication,” said Mike Kohen of Kohan Retail Investment Group.
We only discovered the news by logging onto the company's website, where it announced a list of 138 stores it's closing across the country,
including three others in Findlay, New Philadelphia, and St. Mary's Ohio.
All four will shut down mid-June, affecting approximately 225 associates; 115 at Richmond Town Square alone.
"It's a funny way of finding out," said Richmond Heights Councilman Frank Lentine.
City leaders were also shocked since they say they just met with mall management, who were told sales were good.
Richmond Town Square says it even offered free rent to J.C. Penney's through the end of their lease in 2018.
"She thought there was a possibility that our store would be left alone," said Councilman Lentine.
But don't count them out yet.
The mall has started a grass roots letter writing campaign, handing out the name and address of J.C. Penney’s CEO, to get him to change his mind.
But if he doesn't, Leisa says,"Let me answer the number one question. Richmond Town Square is not closing."
The mall was just bought by the New York Investment Group four months ago. Since then, it’s been working with the city to rezone the area.
They say five new tenants have signed on and they are looking to put in a daycare, a bridal emporium, restaurants and a Euclid Beach Boys museum.
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