40+ Years of JCPenney in South Jersey Ends Friday
It's almost the end for the JCPenney store in Mays Landing.
We broke the story back in February that JCPenney at Hamilton Mall was one of a small number of stores closing this year as the national retailer continues to face tough competition from on-line shopping.
Months later, the end of the end is this Friday. Between now and then, everything in the store is up to 90 percent off.
The closing of JCPenney reminded me of when Pathmark in Egg Harbor Township closed in 2012. I visited that store a few days before it shuttered and walking around a brightly-lit supermarket with almost no food in it was a little weird. Of course, you also got a chance to see what no one will buy even when they're practically giving it away. In the Pathmark case, it was mountains of imitation crab meat and cans of pumpkin pie filling. And, I should also note that seven years later, that Pathmark store has never seen a new tenant.
Anyway, back to JCPenney... when the store goes dark on Friday, it will wrap-up 43 years of retail history in our area.
According to Wikipedia, the Shore Mall, then called Searstown, opened in 1968. One of the original anchor stores there was Grant City, which closed when it declared bankruptcy in 1976. Within months of Grant City closing, JCPenney opened a store there. By the time 1987 rolled around, a shiny new mall -- Hamilton Mall -- was opening in Mays Landing, which is where the Shore Mall Sears and JCPenney both moved to. Sadly, Sears at Hamilton Mall closed a few months ago and JCPenney will do the same this Friday, having been in Mays Landing for over three decades.
In an interesting twist of history, JCPenney filled the Searstown/Shore Mall Grant City space when it closed in 1976. When JCPenney moved out in '87, Clover (remember Clover? Clover was a great store) moved in. When Clover closed, Burlington Coat Factory moved in and filled that void. Now, Burlington is getting ready to leave that space when they move to Consumer Square within the next few months. It's like that part of the old Shore Mall just can't catch a break.
With only hours left, JCPenney is now reminding me of my last trip to Pathmark -- even at 90 percent off, there's just some stuff that most people won't buy. It's a lot of clothes. Not much else (don't expect to walk in and get a diamond ring at 90 percent off).
Oh, and if you are walking past JCPenney inside the mall, the store looks completely empty. It's not -- they keep moving whatever is left over to one side of the store.