Penneys leaving Bellevue after 55 years

Jacques Penné, Penneys, JCP – call it what you will, the struggling national retailer is leaving Bellevue after 55 years.
   J.C. Penney confirmed Sept. 4 that it will vacate its Bellevue Square store on or about Nov. 1.
   For a kid who grew up on the Eastside, this is a big deal, even if the only reason to visit JCP these days is to buy socks and undies. The retailer has been a major Bellevue Square presence since 1959.
   Thirty years ago this month I bought my first suit there. I’d just been hired by PEMCO, which in those days had a dress code requiring suits or sport coats and slacks. I went to Penneys to save a few bucks, rather than pay more at The Bon or Frederick & Nelson. (I’m showing my age, now that all three names are Bellevue history.)
   My very-pregnant wife was with me when I got fitted. I clearly recall the salesman saying, “Maybe when you come back next week to pick it up, you’ll be a dad by then.”
   Sure enough, I was.
   Penneys is where we often bought clothes for our kids. They outgrew things so fast there was no sense in paying more for higher fashion.
   Our son had plump feet as a toddler, and the only shoes that fit him were Nikes. But even Nikes cost less at Jacques Penné.
   The last time I shopped there was Halloween 2013. I bought a pair of Levis and enjoyed watching kids go trick or treating through the mall. Penneys had few customers that night and, more disturbing, its shelves were pretty bare.
   If you travel through Yakima, you can catch a glimpse of what JCP calls its “dynamic, re-imagined” store of the future that opened 11 months ago in Union Gap.

by  Jon Osterberg

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