JC Penney closing

The JC Penney store at Glynn Place Mall in Brunswick will close July 5 costing the jobs of 25 employees.

Another anchor store at Glynn Place Mall is closing.

The JCPenney store will shut its doors permanently on July 5, costing 25 employees their jobs.

Earlier Friday, mall manager Steve Andrews said he had heard rumors the store might close but couldn’t confirm anything. But a phone call to the store confirmed the store is closing July 5, according to the voicemail message.

Jonathan Reynolds, a JCPenney store manager at the mall, said workers met individually with the store’s manager to learn the store is closing.

“We have not been told much, so far,” he said.

The company is offering help for employees, including career coaching, job leads, résumé development, interviewing skills, cover letters and more.

As for the impact to other businesses, Reynolds said “it pretty much affects the whole mall.”

A statement released by corporate officials announced that 18 stores across the nation are being closed this year as the result of a country-wide analysis of performance.

“Unfortunately, our store is one of those locations. It’s never easy taking actions that directly impact our valued associates and customers. However, we feel this is a necessary business decision,” according to the statement.

Patrick Nesbitt, manager of Reed’s Jewelry at the mall for the past 24 years, said he had not heard the Penney store is closing, but he doesn’t believe the closure will impact his business.

“I think we’ll be OK with it,” he said. “We’ve lost Sears. Now we’ve lost another one.”

His store recently renewed its lease, so there are no thoughts about relocating, Nesbitt said.

“We’re locked in here,” he said.

Luckily, the jewelry business nationwide hasn’t suffered as many losses to online customers as other types of businesses. People still want to shop in stores rather than online for rings, watches, necklaces and other jewelry, Nesbitt said.

At the same time, Nesbitt said, it’s not surprising the mall is losing another anchor store.

“A lot of the malls are drying up,” he said. “It’s not just Brunswick. You can’t get people to come in if they’re not shopping.”

Tori Gossett, manager of Pop Vault, another store in the mall, said she hadn’t heard about the plans to close the Penney store until Friday when The News contacted her at the store.

“We’ve seen a lot of decline in traffic,” she said. “This is news to me. I feel like the mall is dying. A small business like us, it will definitely hurt us.”

She said anchor stores lure customers who often browse at other shops in the mall.

“We get people who say they didn’t know we were here,” she said.

Brandon Arnett, manager of Hibbett Sports at the mall, said other businesses will be affected by the Penney closure.

“When we lose an anchor store like that, it’s detrimental to the mall,” he said. “The mall is already suffering. People lose interest in coming to this mall.”

Phendra McLendon, manager of Simple Elegance in the mall, had a more upbeat reaction to the closure, however. She said the store’s location near one of the main entrances has helped generate walk-in customers.

McLendon said the news that 25 workers are losing their jobs and an anchor store at the mall is closing is “sad” news.

“I hate hearing that,” she said.

She is hopeful the Penney announcement won’t have a negative impact on her store.

“I have gone through things at the mall, and they haven’t impacted me,” she said. “My sales have been up since I’ve been here.”

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