2007-11-17 / News

JCPenny announces it will close Coudersport store

Downtown Coudersport took a tough blow this week with confirmation that the JCPenney store, an anchor tenant in the business district, will be closing in late February. Twelve jobs will be eliminated.

Tim Lyons, public relations officer for the merchandising giant, confirmed the news. He described the closing as a "difficult business decision."

The Coudersport store has been at the same location since opening in 1930. The business expanded several years ago, taking over the former Hamlin Five and Dime general merchandise store.

JCPenney has evolved over the years. At one time, a massive toy store on the second floor was a virtual mecca for children and Christmas shoppers. In the 1970s, the store expanded its "virtual inventory" through a beefed-up catalogue ordering service that was an immediate success.

Coudersport Area Chamber of Commerce leaders are appealing to the corporate offices of JCPenney to reconsider.

In a letter to the corporate office in Dallas, Texas, the Chamber Board of Directors said:

"JCPenney is a vital part of our community fabric, attracting customers who also patronize other downtown businesses. JCPenney has been one of the most popular and respected members of our business scene for several decades. Your Coudersport store has an excellent reputation as a source of quality merchandise at reasonable prices, with courteous customer service and a pleasant atmosphere. Employees of JCPenney have always been especially active in local affairs.

"As you may be aware, Coudersport suffered a critical blow beginning in 2002, when Adelphia Communications Corp., our leading employer, plunged into bankruptcy. But rather than allow Adelphia's demise to knock us down, we in the Coudersport community took our destiny into our own hands.

"Steadily, we have been rebuilding the local economy with a diverse collection of new businesses and industries while actively marketing ourselves as a high-tech community that still maintains its rural charm. Our civic organizations remain vibrant and we're on the rebound!

"We would very much like for JCPenney to remain a part of the 'new Coudersport.' As an organization representing the vast majority of local businesses and industries, the Coudersport Area Chamber of Commerce stands ready to assist you in any way. We urge your organization to reconsider the decision to close your Coudersport store."

Sylvia Venne, manager of the JCPenney stores in Coudersport and Towanda, said those with questions or comments about the closing should call 972-431-8200, or email prmail@jcpenney.com. Letters should be sent to: Corporate Customer Relations, P.O. Box 1001, Dallas TX 75301.

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