Workmen stripped Mayberry Mall of the last vestiges of JCPenney on Friday afternoon when they began taking down the retailer’s sign from the side of the building.
JCPenney was founded in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902 by James Cash Penney, and for most of the chain’s history, the company had a presence in Mount Airy. The city’s first JCPenney store opened downtown on Main Street in 1929 when the company was known as J.C. Penney Co. The store’s location moved to Mayberry Mall in 1988 where it remained until closing earlier this month.
The closing of the store ends an almost 90-year run of the retailer in the Granite City, but it was the condition of the mall, rather than the economics of maintaining the store, which predicated the retailer’s move.
Though JCPenney had closed a number of stores in the past year, those closings concluded in May and the Mount Airy location was not one of them, according to JCPenney corporate spokesperson Joey Thomas.
“The current building, now 30 years old, requires proper maintenance for the safety and comfort of customers and associates. Consequently, JCPenney has made the painstaking decision to close this location. It’s never easy taking actions that directly impact our valued associates and customers, however, we feel this is a necessary business decision,“ said Thomas when the decision to close the store was announced.
The mall has been plagued by a leaking roof, mold growing there, structural issues, and the threat of closure by the county because of health concerns.
Before closing, the Mount Airy JCPenney employed about 25 associates.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.