KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- The bright blue doors of the Kingsport Pavilion Maurices will close for good in early 2020. Right next door, Lane Bryant is going out of business as well.
According to store officials, both Maurices and Lane Bryant are slated to close by January 26.
“I found out about it three weeks ago. And the reason is they upped our lease here. They tripled it,” said Maurices manager Emily Dingus.
Maurices employees were told the store closing is due to the lease becoming too expensive. Managers say that with three other Maurices stores nearby, staying at the Kingsport Pavilion wasn’t worth the cost.
“The Pinnacle is 15 minutes away. There is the Mall at Johnson City. And there’s another one in Bristol, Exit 7,” said Dingus.
News Channel 11 also reached out to both stores’ corporate offices and are still waiting to hear back.
Lane Bryant employees said they haven’t yet been told the reason for their closure. In recent years, parent company Ascena Retail Group has been closing locations around the country.
“Unfortunately I think this location is just suffering from a larger issue with the company nationwide,” said Kingsport Director of Economic Development Jason Hudson.
Hudson said the city found out about the closures two weeks ago.
“At the end of the day, it’s a private-sector solution,” he said. “The role of the city in situations like this is to help those businesses that come and ask for it. If we can help them find another location, we’re very open to looking around and seeing if we can find another location suitable for them.”
Both stores are in the midst of final sales as remaining inventory is sold. Lane Bryant employees said the store will likely be doing a 60% off liquidation sale until its closure. Maurices will still have the regular sales being done at stores nationwide.
The Kingsport Pavilion’s Best Buy also closed in November due to a new store opening in Bristol.
That same month, News Channel 11 obtained conceptual site plans for the property’s proposed expansion. Foresite Commericial Real Estate, who manages the property, has been working to recruit new retailers.
News Channel 11 reached out to Foresite Commerical Real Estate on Tuesday for comment and has not yet received a response.
So far no replacement tenants have been announced for any store.
As for the jobs employees loved, those can’t quite be replaced either.
“Every single one of us cried,” said Dingus. “We were all very devastated. This is the best job I could have asked for.”