After 94 years in Logan an 44 years at the Cache Valley Mall, the local JCPenney store is closing its doors.
The announcement came on Thursday via a news release from the Texas-based department store company, which announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.
Following that move and “a comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint,” it was determined that 154 locations would be shuttered this summer, the company said in its press release on June 4. The department store’s Layton Hills Mall location was the only other JCPenney in Utah to fall victim to this round of closures.
A JCPenney communications manager, Kristen Bennett, told The Herald Journal there were “no details yet” on the Cache Valley Mall’s store closing date. A JCPenney associate who works at the mall said she was not aware of an exact closing date either.
The manager of the Cache Valley Mall, Lisa Peterson, said she could only comment with permission from New York-based UPSpring PR. The firm told The Herald Journal it could not complete a request for comment by press time.
Asked about the store’s employees, JC Penney’s Bennett wrote in an email that benefits-eligible employees will be paid severance pending approval from the bankruptcy court. She declined to disclose how many people worked at the Logan store.
But, Bennett wrote, “We are grateful to all of our associates for their dedication to our Company and their passion for meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations during this difficult and uncertain time.”
In a news release, Jill Soltau, CEO of JCPenney, maintained that her company “will remain one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers as we continue to operate a majority of our stores and our flagship store, jcp.com.”
Even as it files for bankruptcy, JCPenney also has announced it is “excited to welcome back our customers and associates” with the reopening of several hundred stores since the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to Soltau.
The future of the Logan JCPenney is a significant development in the life of Cache Valley Mall, which has struggled in recent years with keeping stores open and is navigating relatively new ownership. The JCPenney opened on July 14, 1976, according to Bennett. The year of America’s bicentennial was also the same year the mall opened, according to the Cache Valley Assessor’s office.
Before establishing itself in the mall, however, JCPenney had operated at 55 N. Main Street in Logan since 1926, later the site of the Emporium shopping complex. That location for the department store brings back memories for valley resident Mitch Butterfield, who said his mother worked at JCPenney both there and at the mall until her retirement.
“There was a huge candy counter in the middle of the store, and that was the reason I would go to see her at work,” said Butterfield, referring to the JCPenney at the Emporium. “She would usually give me a dime to get my candy of choice.”
He also remembers lots of toys in the store at Christmastime — a display he called “a living catalogue of the newest toys of the year.”
Jamie Thomas, a Sky View High School graduate, wrote on Facebook that her mother worked at JCPenney when it was in downtown Logan.
“I just remember Penneys being so fancy when I was little. I always felt like we were in the big city,” she wrote.
Butterfield described the mall’s JCPenney as not unlike any other department store. But on the Facebook page Cache Valley Memories, one woman, LuJean Kirby Holst, recalled a special memory, buying clothes from there in 1989, when she was 8 years old.
“It’s the first time I remember getting clothes that weren’t hand-me-downs or from a second hand store,” Holst wrote. “She bought me a pink polo and stone-washed jeans and I felt like a million bucks!”
Louise Karren, who posted in the Cache Valley Memories Facebook page, also had an experience with the mall’s JCPenney that involved jeans.
“My mom entered my name in a contest and I won a pair of jeans,” she wrote. “I think it was my first pair. They were a size zero!”
Thomas believes Cache Valley Mall won’t be the same now that the only original anchor tenant is on its way out.
“I’m going to miss Penney’s,” she wrote. “The mall is going to look as vacant as Shopko and KMart.”
The KMart in North Logan closed in April of 2016 and Logan’s Shopko did the same in May, 2019.
The Cache Valley Mall is owned by Namdar Realty Group in New York.