Fact or Fiction: The fate of Bergner’s at White Oaks Mall

Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., the parent company of Bergner’s, announced late Tuesday that it has accepted a bid from liquidators that will close its stores nationwide. Several employees of the local Bergner’s store confirmed they were told yesterday that the Springfield location will close in 10-12 weeks.

On February 4, 2018, Bon-Ton and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Executives had initially hoped to find a buyer to help turn things around for the more than 200 locations nationwide which operate under various names including Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers.

However, two liquidators were the only bidders during a two-day auction, with Great American Group, LLC and Tiger Capital Group, LLC ultimately reaching an agreement to acquire the inventory and other assets of the company. A hearing by the Bankruptcy Court to approve the sale and wind-down of the company’s operations is scheduled for April 18, 2018.

Bon-Ton issued a statement yesterday regarding the pending liquidation. Bill Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve. We are incredibly grateful to all of our associates for their dedicated service to Bon-Ton and to our millions of loyal customers who we have had the pleasure to serve as their hometown store for more than 160 years.”

Throughout the court-supervised asset sale process, the company’s stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms will remain open throughout the store closing sales. Bon-Ton expects to provide more details about the liquidation plans and going out of business sales at its stores following approval of the winning bid by the Bankruptcy Court.

Bergner’s is one of the anchor stores at White Oaks Mall, which is operated by Simon Property Group. Clay Emerich, property manager for White Oaks Mall, said he did not yet have any further details. “I haven’t received anything official from Simon. We’re still in the process of waiting it out like everyone else.”

Have you heard rumors about a business in town opening or closing but aren’t sure what to believe? Email your question to [email protected] and we’ll check it out. You can also follow Springfield Business Journal on Facebook or Twitter to get local breaking news.

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