KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Just one day after JCPenney announced it would be closing more than 100 stores, including Kingsport’s location, officials with the Fort Henry Mall released a statement.
Hull Property Group, the owner and operator of the Fort Henry Mall, released the following statement:
“JCPenney has been closing stores across the country due to declining sales over the past few years. The pandemic escalated mass closures for JCPenney and many other vulnerable national retailers with underlying financial troubles that existed well before this year. However, the loss of JCPenney is not a reflection on Kingsport or the Fort Henry Mall but instead, it is a reflection of the new realities of the retail.
Retail is always changing as customer needs and tastes evolve and we are experiencing another shift. However, when one door closes another opens and this can be an opportunity to reimagine and reconfigure the Mall and the overall property with the specific needs of the community in mind. Communities in smaller markets have a vital interest in keeping their retail corridors viable. We know that shoppers don’t want a retail model where retail stores are only in urban markets – requiring those in smaller markets to either shop online or drive 45 miles away to do so.
We see the future of retail in small markets being more community-based. Now is a great opportunity for regional and local businesses and entrepreneurs to fill the retail void with ideas that extend beyond chain retail stores into healthcare, fitness, food, baked goods, specialty shops, apparel boutiques, maker spaces and ventures, experiences and other internet businesses that can benefit from a physical presence. We have developed a small business initiative called the American Dream Project (www.dreambighere.com) where we endeavor to facilitate the business vision and dreams of all kinds of different businesses who could benefit from physical space. We believe this is the future of the Fort Henry Mall.
A collaborative effort and consensus among community leadership and stakeholders, surrounding property owners and the Mall will create an environment where we can use this setback to create an opportunity for successful businesses to serve the Kingsport community.“Hull Property Group