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More stores to close in St. C.

Many local shops open to fill void

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Store closing signage coats the exterior of the Pier 1 Imports store in St. Clairsville. Employees of the store declined to disclose a closing date on Friday.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Following the recent news that Macy’s department store will permanently close its doors in March, more stores are set to follow suit in the St. Clairsville area.

Pier 1 Imports store, located next to Steak ‘n Shake at the Ohio Valley Plaza, has announced its impending closing. The store’s exterior is coated with store closing signage, along with “entire store 20 to 40 percent off” signs.

Employees at the store would not comment on the store’s closing Friday, and the corporate public relations office did not respond to phone calls seeking comment. The home decor shop has been in the midst of a large sale for the past month prior to the declaration of its closing.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company announced earlier this month that it intended to “reduce its store footprint” by closing nearly half of its stores. The company said it plans to close more than 400 of its 936 U.S. locations.

Meanwhile, Regis Salon’s future at the Ohio Valley Mall still remains uncertain. Joe Bell, spokesman for Cafaro Co., the mall’s parent company, said the store could potentially become rebranded as a Mastercuts or close its doors completely. As of Friday, nothing was concrete.

St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce Director Wendy Anderson said Pier 1 Imports has been a part of the community for at least 20 years now.

“I’m sad to see them go for the employees that they have. I’m sorry for the employees, I’m sorry for the mall. I really am. They are one our big partners, but I also know now people need to start thinking outside of the box,” she said.

Although neither of the closing stores, including Macy’s and Pier 1 Imports, are members of the local chamber, it remains a somber situation especially for the employees of the stores, she said.

“This is just from me, not the chamber. Both of them (Macy’s and Pier 1 Imports) are big box, corporate-owned (stores). We have so many wonderful boutiques here that will be able to take on and fill the gap,” she said.

Regardless of the closings, there are many businesses that remain open and ready for to serve the local area, she said. The city’s chamber has more than 440 business members in an area ranging from Wintersville to Powhatan Point, Anderson said. She suggested that if shoppers are in need of unique and well-made clothing items, local retail stores are open and available for business.

“Boutique on Main, Three Labs Salvage, we also have Savvy Divas. … All three of them also do jewelry. So it just makes people having to go outside of their comfort zone and looking for those unique shops that we have,” she said.

She urges all area residents to begin shopping and eating in locally owned and operated shops.

“Support your local businesses,” she said.

Anderson said shopping locally can offer better quality, better service and, in turn, aid both the businesses and the community.

The St. Clairsville chamber recently absorbed the Bellaire chamber’s coverage area after the Bellaire chamber ceased operations. Anderson said In the Mix Bakery in Wheeling will soon relocate to Bellaire.

“They have outgrown their place in Wheeling. They were on the back end of Elm Grove. This new place (formerly Val’s Bakery), right across the street from Gulla’s (Lunch), offers them a larger place, better equipment and the need is great,” she said.

Anderson said she thinks it is only a matter of time before new businesses fill the vacant store spaces at the mall and in the surrounding area.

“We’re in that downward spiral, but we just have to wait. It’s coming. I just have to have faith that it’s going to,” she said.

The staff at Pier 1 declined to release a formal closing date on Friday.

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