From: Greg Gaut
and Marsha Neff
On May 2, we published a guest editorial in these pages entitled “J.C. Penney won’t you please come home (and collect your tax credits).” We proposed that J. C. Penney return to downtown Winona where they had a store from 1924 to 1970. We suggested that they buy the beautiful but vacant Beck Building at 109 E. 3rd St, and take advantage of the generous state and federal tax credits for rehabilitating historic buildings.
People have asked us if we got any response from J. C. Penney. None. Meanwhile, the corporate management was busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic with new marketing schemes. Unfortunately, the ship continues to flounder. The company just reported a 27 percent revenue loss for the third quarter, even worse than expected by Wall Street analysts. Penney’s stock has lost 40 percent of its value since January.
Wouldn’t it be great if the company, just as an experiment, took a Main Street approach and came back downtown. A little thinking outside of the (big) box might actually strengthen the company. For good reason, Winonans have long valued their J.C. Penney store. We hope that it survives and thrives in the future, wherever it may be.