Caldor To Close Queens Stores – QNS.com

Caldor To Close Queens Stores

The retail hub at Main St. and Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing which suffered the loss of the Woolworth’s store last year now faces the shutdown of another major tenant, the huge Caldor’s department store.
The chain will also close two other Queens locations on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village and on Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks.
Meanwhile, a Foot Locker store which had moved into the vacated Woolworth’s location on Austin St. in Forest Hills closed its doors suddenly this past weekend.
The closing of these chain stores, however, may not spell gloom for the major shopping districts in the Borough. Real estate experts are saying that Target, KMart and Home Depot and other so-called "big-box" retailers have their eye on moving into the soon-to-be vacated Caldor’s. The premier Flushing location is considered ideal because it is located directly at the entrance to the soon-to-be renovated Main Street subway station of the #7 line. Similarly, the Austin St. site of the defunct Foot Locker is currently undergoing a retail renaissance with a number of major outlets such as the Disney Store setting up business there.
The Caldor chain had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1995 and was dropped from the New York Stock Exchange last year. Two weeks ago it was no longer ordering or taking delivery of stock. After creditors turned down a liquidation plan, the owners of Caldor’s announced it was going out of business last Friday. A going out of business sale will most likely start in the next few weeks with all 145 stores in New York and the East Coast shutting their doors in March. The discount chain, founded in 1951, employs 20,000 people.
The Flushing Caldor’s location has housed two previous chain stores — S. Klein and Alexander’s — both of which also went out of business. Next door to the Caldor’s is a Sterns’ department store, another chain whose future is currently up-in-the-air.
Caldor’s Flushing manager Michael Nieves, 37, had the tough job of telling his 280 workers that they would soon be unemployed. For Nieves himself the news was a blow — he is the father of eight children.
Nieves said the Flushing store made approximately $40 million a year and averaged 5,000 customers a day.
A spokesperson for the Venitar Group, the former Woolworth’s owners who had announced they would convert many of the five and dime stores into Foot Locker outlets could not tell The Queens Courier why the Forest Hills store had closed suddenly this past weekend, but it does not appear to be a part of a chainwide closing. Chris Collette, executive director of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce said that the Austin St. store always "looked like a ‘place holder’ kind of operation" so the parent company could temporarily hold on to the location.

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