That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

August 5, 2007

Opening heralds rebirth of retail {Daily Press}

Filed under: "coliseum mall",J.C. Penney — Anita @ 8:34 pm

I have the actual newspaper article from this too, I need to scan it when I go to school Tuesday.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket {Here is a link to a video from the newspaper}dailypress.com/business/dp-97327sy0aug04,0,4337770.story
dailypress.com
Opening heralds rebirth of retail
Shoppers flock to J.C. Penney for the store’s grand opening. It is the first Peninsula Town Center shop to open.

BY CYNTHIA H. CHO

247-4744

August 4, 2007

HAMPTON

At the grand opening of the J.C. Penney store in Hampton on Friday, Barbara Lash talked about the role the department store has played in her life.

She was just 18 when Coliseum Mall opened in 1973. Then a student at Thomas Nelson Community College, Lash helped stock the J.C. Penney store leading up to the opening on Halloween. J.C. Penney was one of the mall’s three anchor stores, along with Korvette and Rices-Nachmans.

She went away to James Madison University in 1975, but she would work at J.C. Penney when she was home on the Peninsula during school breaks.

In 1984, she met the man she would wed seven years later. At the time, she was working in the jewelry department and John Lash was working as a stockboy. (They are still married; John now works for the commissioner of the revenue in Newport News.)

“It’s exciting that we’re going to have something new and different in Hampton,” said Barbara Lash, who lives in Newport News and teaches first grade at Samuel P. Langley Elementary School in Hampton.

She still works at J.C. Penney part-time, a few times a week, in the jewelry department; on Friday, she had a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift. Come October, she will have been on J.C. Penney’s payroll on and off for 34 years.

When Coliseum Mall opened on Halloween in 1973, it was “the place to be,” Lash, 52, said. It was, at the time of its opening, the largest mall on the Peninsula. Most of the stores at the mall closed this past January and demolition began in February to make way for construction of the Peninsula Town Center, which is expected to be complete in the spring of 2009.

The J.C. Penney store is the first Peninsula Town Center store to open.

Its soft opening was Sunday, July 29, but its grand opening was Friday morning.

Among the people who spoke before the 7:45 a.m. ribbon cutting were Raymond Tripp, who was the general manager of Coliseum Mall and will be the general manager of Peninsula Town Center, and Ross A. Kearney II, mayor of Hampton.

“Hello dedicated shoppers, how are you?” Kearney said to the 70 or so shoppers waiting in line around 7:45 a.m. “We are in a revitalization, a rebirth” in our community, he said, referring to the Peninsula Town Center.

Inside the store, which opened at 8 a.m., there were serious shoppers who carried armfuls of clothing; curious browsers who grabbed goodie bags and filled out forms for the store’s grand-opening sweepstakes; and women testing mascaras, eyeliners and lipgloss at the Sephora beauty boutique. (Sephora, which is owned by the luxury products group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, operates approximately 515 stores in 14 countries.)

And this being a tax-free weekend in Virginia – there is no sales tax on certain school supplies, clothing and footwear – there were many parents shopping with or for their children.

Rhonda Wagner, a 36-year-old high school teacher from Newport News, had brought all three of her kids: 9-year-old Paige, 4-year-old Parker and 2-year-old Payton.

Paige, who will be a fourth-grader in the fall, said she wanted new clothes because she was growing out of some of hers.

The selection at J.C. Penney, she said, was “cool” and “neat.”

By 8:30 a.m., Diego Romo, 10, was holding two pairs of blue jeans. His stepdad, Elton Nurmi, a 28-year-old landscaper from Newport News, had in his hands two pairs of slacks, khaki and navy, in his arms for Diego.

But few seemed as excited as 3-year-old Jordan Hall.

She and her mom, Ashley Hall, 24, were shopping for new clothes for Jordan’s start at preschool in the fall.

“I want that shirt!” Jordan said loudly and ecstatically from her stroller, pointing to a lavender shirt with pink glitter – pink and purple are her favorite colors.

When asked why she likes shopping, she smiled, shrugged and simply said, “Because.”

Copyright © 2007, Newport News, Va., Daily Press

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1 Comment »

  1. The author’s name is interesting to me. The reporter who writes about retail for the Cleveland Plain Dealer is Janet Cho. I wonder if they’re related, or if writing newspaper articles about retail is some sort of Cho family trade?

    Comment by Dave McGrann — August 7, 2007 @ 7:18 am | Reply


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