Younkers is closing its last two area stores

Younkers at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids, April 17, 2018. — photo by Jav Ducker

The last two area Younkers stores will close in June, it was reported on Tuesday. The stores in Coralville’s Coral Ridge Mall and Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids are among seven Younkers stores that the department store’s parent company, Bon Ton, Inc., told Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) it plans to close.

Bon Ton, which has owned Younkers since 2005, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February. The Pennsylvania-based Bon Ton attempted to auction off its assets this week, but the only bidders were two companies that specialize in liquidating failed businesses. In addition to Younkers, Bon Ton also owns five other department store chains: Herberger’s, Bergner’s, Elder Beerman, Boston Store and Carson’s.

The Younkers brothers opened their first store — a general store in Keokuk — in 1862. Twelve years later, the brothers opened a dry goods store in Des Moines, which grew into a full-service department store and served as the flagship store for a growing chain across Iowa.

The announcement that Younkers will close is the second blow to Lindale Mall in less than a week. On Thursday it was announced that the mall’s Sears will close. Sears and Younkers worked together to open the mall in northeast Cedar Rapids in 1960, and are Lindale’s only remaining original stores. Both have served as anchor stores for the mall. After the two stores close, the mall’s sole remaining anchor store will be Von Maur.

Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids, April 17, 2018. — photo by Jav Ducker

Bon Ton filed the necessary 60-day advance notice of a potential business closure with IWD on April 4. According to the filing, 635 employees will lose their jobs when the seven stores close.

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