By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY August 16, 2002 Ames is closing up shop.
The headquarters of the national discount store announced this week that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the Liberty store will be closing for good.
One of only two retail chain stores in the county, Ames was a popular destination for bargain shoppers from across the county, especially those on the northern side who did not want to drive the extra 10 miles to the Wal-Mart in Monticello.
According to a press release issued by Ames corporate headquarters in Rocky Hill, Conn., the retail chain has been forced to liquidate and close 327 store locations.
Our associates and managers have worked long and hard, trying to restore the viability of Ames, said Ames CEO Joseph Ettore in a press release. But despite these efforts, and the efforts of management to control costs and restructure our operations, the difficult environment for discount retailing and the continued slowness in the economy have made it impossible for us to deliver the sales volume we need to meet our obligations.
Libertys shop is one of 85 that will be closed in New York, though the company announced as recently as last year when it closed the doors on its Monticello store that the Liberty branch would remain open. The former Ames building on Route 42 has yet to be filled by another retailer.
The closing of the Liberty location is another blow to the countys already delicate economy.
Jacquie Leventoff, president of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, is sad to see the chain go.
Every time we lose a retail establishment, we lose more money and more jobs in the county, she noted.
According to Mary McCabe, a company spokesperson, approximately 60 employees in Liberty will be losing their jobs as Ames goes under.
We are all very disappointed, said Assistant Manager Jim Dinnerstein. We knew they were in bankruptcy, but they seemed to be coming out of it.
Were all just shocked.
Liquidation sales at the Ames store are set to begin Aug. 18 and will last approximately eight to 10 weeks. At that time, employees will receive their final paychecks.
Reporter/Photographer Matt Youngfrau contributed to this report.