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JCPenney Is Expected to Close It's Doors On Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Diana Martinez | Editor   
Thursday, 26 July 2012 04:22

But Community Will Continue to Pursue the Retailer


The JCPenney store in San Fernando has been plucked nearly clean, and the store signs now claim to be giving customers 50 percent off of merchandise in their closing sale. But that doesn't help the long time customers who are upset that the retailer is leaving the City of San Fernando without giving the community an opportunity to be heard.

Resident Julian Ruelas said that despite attempts to contact executives responsible for making the decision to close the store, the community has been ignored.

It's been frustrating for Ruelas and many other residents who wanted to make a case to show the retailer that it is good business to stay in the Northeast valley, but the strategy for dealing with customer discontent appears to be to ignore it. The retailer has not responded to attempts to communication.

The only communication that has been received has been a boilerplate response that said it was a "difficult decision" for the company to make.

The San Fernando location is the only JCPenney store in the state that is closing.

At a June rally held in the store's parking lot, customer Jonathon Escobar said he was going to cut up his JCPenney credit card if the retailer leaves.

"Why should we have to go to Northridge?" he asked. "If they go, I won't forget it. It leaves a really bad taste in my mouth."

Escobar said he has no desire to spend his hard earned dollars in a store that has treated his community so poorly. "Why should I contribute to the wealth in Northridge, when my dollars are needed in my own neighborhood."

Ruelas has been involved in the effort to keep the store in town but his efforts have fallen on deaf ears.

"Residents have become angry," he said.

On Saturday, July 21, at a community fundraiser, Ruelas spoke with civil rights leader Dolores Huerta about his concern. Huerta agreed to lend her support for the community effort.

The loss of the JCPenney store is viewed as "economic racism" that could have a domino effect on surrounding businesses.

The mostly Latino clientele at the JCPenney San Fernando location points out that they've been loyal to the store, but they also take note that the merchandise sold at the San Fernando location was not equal to that sold at other stores.

"How long has this store been here?" echoed Cynthia Galvan. "We've been putting our money here for years and we've been good customers. I think we should be treated with some respect.

"My family would take my grandmother every weekend to this store. She didn't shop anywhere else, she was really loyal to this store and she walked from her house on Coronel (Street)."

State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (39th District) sent a letter to J.C. Penney this week criticizing store officials for "targeting this store for closure after you recently announced that you were renovating more than 700 of your stores nationwide," and recently comedian George Lopez added his voice to an online video residents hope will reach the store's executives.

Even if the store closes, Ruelas said the community would continue its efforts. A group of area artists have written a letter that they will be sending to JCPenney spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 04:26