SEQUIM — JCPenney in Sequim, a retail staple for 26-plus years, has began liquidation and plans to permanently close its doors in mid-May.
The sale at the store at 651 Washington St., started more than a month after staff learned of the store’s impending closure Dec. 10.
Moments upon entering the store Jan. 21, customers were saying the closure is “heartbreaking” and “terrible.”
“This is bad; we need this store,” another customer said.
General Manager Beverly Nelson said progressive sales are starting at 20-50 percent and all sales will be final.
It’s still to be determined if employees will transfer to other stores following the closure, Nelson said.
Susan Erdman of Port Angeles has worked on the store floor for 17 years, worked for two general managers and met “a lot of great people,” she said.
“It’s been a good store for Sequim,” Erdman said. “People are going to miss it. They’ve been telling us, ‘Where are we going to shop? What are we going to do now?’ ”
Sequim’s closure follows a “store optimization strategy” from new owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., reporting plans to close up to 200 stores for financial restructuring following the retailer filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020.
The Sequim JCPenney is the only one on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The next closest store is at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale.
Sequim JCPenney moved from Port Angeles to the former Sequim Safeway store in 1995 at the Sequim Village Shopping Center.
Prior to the liquidation, the store employed 35 part-time and full-time employees.
Some employees have moved on to other employment, including all but one stylist at the JCPenney Styling Salon. Salon manager Rebecca Claymore will remain with the store as long as the salon remains open with the timeline unknown, she said.
Last week, she took remaining vacation time and she will be open this week for appointments from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday by stopping in or calling 360-681- 4047.
The last two stylists finished Jan. 15, Claymore said, and all her stylists found local positions.
“People who knew the salon was closing called to see how we’re doing and if they could offer employment,” she said. “It made me feel so good and it speaks well for this salon.”
Claymore said she loves the people who worked there, and she’s “heard a lot of healing words from customers.”
She made the switch from Silverdale as a master stylist in August to lead the Sequim salon and was sad to learn about the closure a few months later.
With state regulations in place late last year they had to downsize from four to two stylists and from 50 percent to 25 percent capacity.
“We got creative (with hours),” Claymore said.
JCPenney was founded in 1902. Sequim’s store remained open in 2017 after the company closed 138 stores nationwide. However, it joins GameStop and Ulta Beauty as franchises to close in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Erdman said in her years with the store, she’s “seen a lot of ups and downs,” but she plans to stay through the entirety of the closure.
“I have a granddaughter, and I’m going to keep taking care of her a few days a week, so I don’t want to mess that schedule up,” she said.
As for what’s next after the closure, Erdman says she’s not going to rush things in finding another job.
Sequim’s store won several corporate awards in recent years, including the Chairman’s Award and the Founder’s Award, the “highest distinction for excellence” according to JCPenney representatives.
Claymore, who commutes from Poulsbo, said she loves Sequim.
“It’s beautiful here, and I’ve met so many neat people,” she said. “I’ve always treated it like a little vacation when I come here.”
JCPenney’s website states: “Items purchased prior to the start of the liquidation sale may be returned or exchanged throughout the entire liquidation sale.”
Gift cards from the store can be redeemed but not purchased at the Sequim location.
More information can be found here companyblog.jcpnewsroom.com/store closings on closures.
For more information about the Sequim JCPenney store, call 360-681-2833 or visit jcp.com.
Property manager Michelle Ridgway with Sun Valley Realty said there’s been some interest in leasing the JCPenney space.
For more information, contact her at [email protected] or 360-683-6500.