By Paul Schmitt
Facing retail and industry challenges, J.C. Penney Company announced last week that they were planning to close 138 department stores nationwide. The four Wisconsin stores in Marinette, Marshfield, Richland Center and Wisconsin Rapids are scheduled to close by June. J.C. Penney was one of the first stores in the Cherry Point Mall in Sturgeon Bay when it opened in 1981. Bob Johnson, who managed the Cherry Point Mall from 1986 to 1996 says he remembers a vibrant store but realizes that the retail environment has changed drastically.
J.C. Penny closed its Sturgeon Bay department store in the mid-1990’s and continued to operate a catalog store in the mall for several years after, according to Johnson. JC Penney still operates 900 stores around the United States.