The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 24, 2012

Sears store closing at Ashtabula Towne Square

About 40 sales associates will lose their jobs

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —  Sears will close its anchor store at Ashtabula Towne Square, 3045 N. Ridge Road E., the company said Thursday.

About 40 sales associates will lose their jobs, according to a press release from Sears Holdings.

Employees, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were told the store will close in 90 days.

Liquidation dates will be announced later, according to the press release.

“It’s devastating,” said Bambi Paulchel, chairwoman of the Ashtabula Township trustees.

Sean Ratican, executive director of the Ashtabula County Port Authority, said it was a blow to the local economy.

“It’s a tragic loss,” he said. “I’m sad to see it go.”

The announcement follows news in December that the company would close at least 100 stores to raise cash after a net loss in the fourth quarter.

Sears opened with the mall in 1992, but Ashtabula Towne Square officials refused to comment Thursday on the loss of one of three anchor stores left in the complex.

Kmart and JCPenney remain open for business, but the mall has had a particularly difficult time during the economic downturn. It has the capacity for 70 stores, plus a food court, and a six-screen movie theater, but has experienced a sharp decline in tenants in the past several years.

Phar-Mor closed up in 2000, then shoppers saw Finish Line, King’s Jewelry, Claire’s, the Yum Yum Tree, Dillard’s and Spencer’s Gifts leave despite the mall’s new owners’ investment of more than $3.5 million in improvements to the property.

Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers left the food court in January 2011.

Even Neal’s Shoes and Uniforms walked out in December after decades of business in Ashtabula.

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