Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

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Super S
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Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by Super S » 06 Mar 2012 14:50

From the 1960s, to the early 1980s, JCPenney opened many full-line department stores which had hardware, appliances, electronics, and auto centers, among other things. Knowing that JCPenney abandoned many downtown areas in favor of new stores in malls during this time, I got to wondering if there were any downtown stores which did take on any hardlines departments. It seemed like most stores in downtown areas would have been too small for this. However, there are some areas where these downtown stores operated well into the 1980s before closing or relocating into malls, and would have been in operation during the time period JCPenney had hardlines departments. It seems like it would have made sense for some of them when mall space was not available, at least until the 1980s when JCPenney abandoned hardlines.

I have been to very few downtown-based JCPenney stores while they were still open. Of those, the largest I remember was the downtown Boise, Idaho store (which closed in the late 80s), but I don't remember that one having hardlines at all.

Ephrata1966
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Re: Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by Ephrata1966 » 06 Mar 2012 19:34

Well, there was an ancient "J.C. Penney Co." store in Coatesville PA which relocated to the nearby Exton Square Mall in 2000. This mall was built in 1972, but for much of its life the only anchor was a Strawbridge & Clothier/Strawbridge's (now Macy's). The May store was in the middle of the mall, with all the smaller stores forming a ring around it. When JCPenney added a store, so did Sears and Boscov's. I'm amazed Boscov's built their own new store from the ground up. Traditionally Boscov's has been like the Big Lots of department stores. To answer your question, I doubt JCPenney would have built a new store that was drastically different from the old one (other than the style of buildings of course). The citizens of Coatesville must have been very loyal to their JCPenney, because Coatesville is a bad area and has almost no chain stores in it anymore. And the crime from Coatesville has always spilled out into its neighbors Exton and Downingtown. In the early 90's I was worried Exton Square would be the new Dixie Square.

Super S
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Re: Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by Super S » 06 Mar 2012 20:24

What I was more interested in though is if any of the non-mall older stores took on hardlines departments. It is my understanding that very few if any older locations added them.

tkaye
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Re: Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by tkaye » 10 Mar 2012 17:05

I just located some Penney's ads from a 1970 edition of The Seattle Times. As was common, each department was represented by a separate ad. Above the Penney's logo at the top of each ad was "AT (X) STORES," which varied depending on the department. The largest number was on the softlines ads, which boasted 20 stores.

Most of the hardlines were available at six stores, three of which were in downtown locations: Seattle (Second and Pike), Everett, and Bremerton. Seattle was once the largest store in the entire company and Bremerton was a new building that was, for all practical purposes, a mall anchor store without a mall. So Everett was the only traditional downtown store on the list, and it was on the ground floor of the large Medical-Dental building.

An ad for vacuums and carpet cleaners represents nine stores, including Olympia, which was also a downtown location. Eight stores had auto centers, half of which were downtown: Bellingham, Bremerton, Everett, and Olympia. The smallest number of stores was in the ad for riding lawn mowers, which were the six hardlines stores minus downtown Seattle.

For the record, here are all 20 stores listed in the Seattle ad: Auburn, Aurora Village, Ballard, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bremerton, Downtown Seattle, Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mount Vernon, Northgate, Olympia, Renton, Puyallup, Southcenter, Tacoma Mall, University, Villa Plaza, West Seattle.

rich
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Re: Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by rich » 10 Mar 2012 23:01

Penney's post-WWII, pre-department store shopping center locations were all over over the place in terms of size (20-80K sf from what I've seen). Many of them took on hardlines departments, particularly lines that fit with their traditional clothing and domestics (e.g., sporting goods and furniture). If the downtown stores varied as much in size, then they also would have been candidates for adding hardlines. Many had more than one floor which would have made it easy to have separate hard goods sections. The Seattle examples seem consistent with this.

Ephrata1966
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Re: Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by Ephrata1966 » 06 Nov 2012 16:24

Does anyone know where this store is?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7636026@N0 ... hotostream

mesly33
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Re: Hardlines in older downtown JCPenney locations

Post by mesly33 » 06 Nov 2012 17:18

That picture is from the store at:

201 South Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514

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