Four years after celebrating its 100th anniversary — with management looking forward to another 100 years in operation — the Temple JC Penney location will close next month.
“The future of JC Penney is bright, especially for our store here,” then-general manager David Gyergyo said in 2017. “We’re not going anywhere and we hope to be here for the next 100 years.”
The store — located at 3111 S. 31st St. in the Temple Mall — is the last of eight stores in the state set to close as the company emerged from bankruptcy last year. The store had been set to close in March, but that has since been pushed back to May 16 along with 14 other locations and three new stores across the nation.
Currently, the store is holding a clearance sale of 70 percent off all items before closing.
JC Penney was one of the nation’s largest chains to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to the coronavirus pandemic. It emerged from bankruptcy in November after being purchased by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
The retailer said that it originally planned on closing 242 stores nationwide — about 30 percent of its 846 locations.
The 18 locations closing their doors in May — bringing the total number of closures to 174 — will include stores across 17 states, according to USA Today.
“Following a comprehensive review of our retail footprint during the restructuring process, JCPenney made the difficult decision to announce more than 170 store closures in 2020,” the retailer said on its blog.
The Temple JC Penney was one of the four remaining stores established when the retailer first expanded to Texas in 1917. The store was originally located at 20 S. Main St. in downtown Temple but later moved to the mall in 1978.
The store closures included the store in Paris, leaving only the stores in Abilene and Wichita Falls as the remaining original locations in the state.
“The decision to close a store is never an easy one,” company spokeswoman Sarah Meche said. “We are grateful to our dedicated associates and the loyal customers who have shopped at our Temple Mall location since the store opened in 1978.”
The JC Penney store at the Killeen Mall, 2100 S. WS Young Drive, will remain open, the company said.