Back in 1989, Petitti Garden Centers partnered with Sears to open retail outlets at the department stores throughout Northeast Ohio, and president A.J. Petitti says they operated about eight concessions at one point in time. As of this year, they had two remaining – one at Richmond Town Square mall in Richmond Heights, Ohio, and another at Southland Shopping Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio.
When Sears announced at the end of December and in January that it was closing more than 40 stores nationwide, including its business in Richmond Town Square by the end of March, Petitti Garden Centers also decided to close that location.
“If it wasn’t for Sears going out, we’d still be operating,” Petitti says. “We talked to them about staying open, but we wouldn’t have any access to the [main] building, and there’s no dry storage space.”
Malls have been hit hard in the past decade, as large department stores have left gaping holes in anchor locations. Macy’s and JC Penney have also announced store closings for 2017, at 68 and 137 respectively.
The Northeast Ohio retailer, which is No. 3 on Garden Center magazine's 2016 Top 100 list, now operates eight locations.
“We’re starting to explore opportunities for opening new stores in other markets, so it will all work out just fine. [The Richmond store closing] won’t have a huge impact on the company or on sales,” Petitti says, adding that the mall, which also lost its Macy’s anchor in 2015 and JC Penney this year, was declining for a while. “It was still profitable, it was nice and the community really supported it, and I liked having it, but it’s gone.”
Staff at the store were all relocated within the company as well, so no one lost their jobs, Petitti says.
Petitti is also remodeling and updating its Youngstown, Ohio, store, which is an older facility the retailer bought in the early 2000s.
Image: The Avon Petitti Garden Centers location, taken in May 2016 by Michelle Simakis.
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