By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO December 7, 2001 Although casinos and the revitalization of the Concord Hotel are likely in its future, the Town of Thompson was dealt a blow yesterday, as it learned the Ames Department Store in Monticello will be closing early next year.
The national chain retailer has had rough times since August, when they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and began a voluntary reorganization. The more than 400 stores in the chain remained open while they reorganized.
On November 14, Ames announced that 16 of their 403 stores would be closing. The chain which has stores throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest closed 10 stores in Illinois, one in Indiana, one in Kentucky, one in Ohio, and three in Tennessee. Approximately 1,000 of their 26,000 employees were affected by the closings.
Less than two weeks later on November 27, Ames announced they were closing their Columbus, Ohio Distribution Center, which supplied many of the stores that were facing closure. Approximately 450 employees were laid off by that move.
Yesterday, Ames layoffs continued as they announced that another 54 stores will be closed in 11 states, including four stores in New York. Besides Monticello, NYS stores to be closed include Canandaigua, Carthage, and Niagara Falls. Liberty will not be closed.
These closings bring the number of stores in the chain down to 333.
"Closing stores is a difficult decision," Ames Chairman and CEO Joseph Ettore stated in a press release. "But Ames will continue to have a strong presence in the majority of these markets. More importantly, we will also be able to offer many of the impacted associates an opportunity to work in a nearby store location."
Suprised Ames employees in Monticello learned the news Wednesday morning. Representatives from the corporate offices were in Monticello yesterday all day to discuss the situation with management. Currently, 40 employees work at the Monticello store, and the inventory will be liquidated after Christmas. The store will be closed in either February or March 2002.
Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini stated he was aware of rumors of the impending closure but that many businesses had shown interest in that location, so he expects the empty space will be filled quickly.