SEQUIM — This Sunday will end a 100-plus-year run of JCPenney on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The liquidation of the Sequim JCPenney, at 651 W. Washington St., will end after progressive discounts went in place in January for clothes, housewares and fixtures.
Items remained 70 to 90 percent off retail prices with operation hours of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, staff confirmed.
“It’s getting sad as it clears out in here,” store general manager Beverly Nelson said.
“I’m grateful to my team who has been able to stick with me.”
Staff learned of the closure on Dec. 10 after new owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. reported plans to close as many as 200 stores for financial restructuring after the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Prior to the closure announcement, Sequim’s store employed about 35 full- and part-time employees, Nelson said. Now it employs 22 people with one who will be transferring to the Silverdale JCPenney in Kitsap Mall, the next closest store to Sequim.
The JCPenney Styling Salon inside the Sequim store also has closed.
Nelson said of her employees, she’s trying to help nine find new jobs.
Multiple staffers confirmed that customers continue to provide an outpouring of support for employees and the need for the store.
Ethel Endicott, a Sequim resident for more than 40 years, said she’s been a JCPenney card club member for a long time and it’s sad the store is closing.
“There’s not many places to shop in Sequim,” she said.
Jamie Schlichting, also of Sequim, reiterated it’s sad to see the store close because she’s “been coming here a long time.”
Since the announcement of the impending store closure, Schlichting and many other customers said they’ve been coming in once a week to see what’s new and discounted.
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.
As for what’s next with the space, property manager Michelle Ridgway of Sun Valley Realty said a business has expressed interest in the space but declined to name the potential client, as it works with architects to determine the feasibility of the workspace.
JCPenney has split its 101 years between Sequim and Port Angeles. The company was started in 1902 by James Cash Penney in Kemmerer, Wyo., originally as The Golden Rule before he purchased the small chain stores and began to expand. The store was renamed the J. C. Penney Company in 1913.
According to files found by Sequim JCPenney staff, JCPenney opened in April 1920 in Port Angeles by the Elks Lodge. It moved in 1957 as a store was built in 1958 at 201 W. First St., according to JCPenney documents.
Staff at the time reported the 9,700-square-foot building had grown too small, so an effort to find a larger home led to Sequim since growth appeared to be heading east in Clallam County.
In May 1995, JCPenney moved to its current 29,000-square-foot space in the Sequim Village Shopping Center, the former home of Safeway, which moved across the street.
Sequim’s store survived other efforts for JCPenney to restructure and cut costs throughout the 2000s. It now joins national chains GameStop and Ulta Beauty to close in Sequim during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local employees were honored in recent years for their efforts in Sequim, including receiving the Chairman’s Award and the Founder’s Award, the “highest distinction for excellence,” according to JCPenney representatives.
For more information about the Sequim JCPenney store, call 360-681-2833 or visit jcp.com.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].