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Superior Younkers slated to close; mall remains open for business

Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com People walk into and past the Younkers in the Mariner Mall in Superior on Thursday morning. It was recently announced that this Younkers will be closing.

The Younkers in Superior is one of 42 Bon-Ton Store locations set to close, according to a Wednesday news release.

Located in the Mariner Business and Retail Center, 69 N. 28th St., the Superior Younkers employs 33 associates. Younkers has been a mall anchor store since it took over the former Prange's space in 1992.

"This closure like any other retail closure is sad news," said Suzyn Cragin, Mariner Business and Retail Center property manager. "This one is especially tough since Younkers is the only large-box retailer we have left in town other than Walmart, which really is no comparison."

Bon-Ton Stores is shuttering the stores to move forward with a more productive store footprint, according to Bill Tracy, president and chief executive officer.

"Our community has continually supported our Younkers, since not everyone wants to shop up on the hill," Cragin said. "It will leave a big hole in our community."

In addition to Superior, eight other Wisconsin locations are slated to close: the Boston Store in Beaver Dam, the Elder-Beerman store in Beloit, the Boston Store Clearance Center in Milwaukee and Younkers stores in Appleton, Fond Du Lac, Manitowoc, Marinette and Wausau. The Herberger's Clearance Center in Maplewood is the only Minnesota store closing, according to the release.

Closing sales at the affected stores began Thursday and will run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. Associates at the affected stores will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at other store locations.

Cragin said the privately owned retail and business center hopes to fill the Younkers space — approximately 44,000 square feet — quickly. The facility has rolled with the changes, moving from mainly retail to a mix that includes a crossbow manufacturer, child care center, sand volleyball courts and more.

"We are fortunate enough to still have Diamond Royal Tack, Sears Hometown Store, Regis, Shear Design and many other businesses in the center, so to answer the question is Mariner closing, 'no,'" Cragin said. "Businesses within the center employ approximately 600 people."

Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., headquartered in New York, Pennsylvania and MIlwaukee, operates 260 stores.

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