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County Board of Supervisors Votes to Save JCPenney Store PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 23 August 2012 01:57

SFVS

The Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to join business and community leaders in an attempt to persuade J. C. Penney Co. to reopen its San Fernando department store. The store first came to the city of San Fernando in the 1920's but closed it's doors last month. The store has been at the present location in the city's downtown outdoor mall for the last 53 years.

The store, which closed on July 28, served as an anchor to the city's downtown shopping district and was the only department store in the northeast San Fernando Valley, according to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who recommended offering help to J. C. Penney to make the location economically viable. Yaroslavsky proposed that the Board of Supervisors send a letter to JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson to "respectfully urge JCPenney in the strongest possible terms to reconsider its decision to close its doors in the city of San Fernando" and to "offer whatever service may be of help to JCPenney, its landlord and city leaders to ensure that staying in San Fernando will be an economically beneficial decision."

Announcement of the plan to shut down the store sparked rallies by angry residents and employees, who signed petitions urging the retailer to stay. Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Lopez called the move a slap in the face and voiced frustration that the company based in Plano, Texas was difficult to reach.

But the retailer -- in the midst of an effort to revitalize its brand, add new fashion-forward merchandise and change its pricing strategy -- moved forward with its plans.

A Penney spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the likelihood of reopening the store. But at the time of the store closure, JCPenney spokesman Joey Thomas was quoted as saying:

"It's never an easy decision to close a store. We would not have moved forward with this difficult decision if we did not believe it was absolutely necessary for the future growth of our company." Business owners in the San Fernando outdoor mall have noticed a drop in foot traffic since the store has closed while some shoppers have continued to come to the San Fernando location unaware that the store has closed. Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta have given support to the efforts of local residents who have said that they want to keep their shopping dollars in their local community. Actors George Lopez and Danny Trejo as well as members of the rock band, WAR, have made online appeals to JCPenney to keep the store in the Northeast Valley. The building and its nostalgic signage is also currently being considered as a historic site. Immediately after closing its doors the retailer hired a Sun Valley company to remove the store's signage, but were spotted late at night by local residents who stopped them.

The board's vote was unanimous in support of Yaroslavsky's proposal. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation has also been interested in working with J. C.

Penney to see what might be done to bring the retailer to the table to hold a discussion to keep the San Fernando store in the Northeast valley region.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:42