The last retail holdout at the former Rolling Acres mall is now closed.
Customers looking for one last bargain on the last day of business for JC’s 5 Star Outlet waited in Black Friday-like lines with overflowing shopping carts on Monday.
And they left happy — with bags full of items at 90 percent off original outlet prices and, in some cases, store fixtures too.
Eighteen-year-old Casey White of North Canton accompanied his grandmother, Melinda Kennedy of Canton, to the store, having never been in it. He wasn’t looking for anything in particular.
He left with 13 pairs of dress pants, “tons of shirts” — some for $2.49 apiece and some normally $48 each. He also has a lot of ties for 69 cents. His grand total was $66 with a savings of $560, according to his receipt.
White, who works in an assisted living facility, said the deals were too good to pass up and got him stocked up for work.
Did he need 13 pairs of pants?
“No, but I might as well do it,” he said of the deals.
Alrae Green and her grandmother, Wilma Poole, both of Akron, left with two bags full of items; one was $21 and the other was $26.
“It’s just stuff for summertime for my boys and Christmas presents I didn’t get for someone,” Green said of her purchases. “I got a sheet set for two bucks. Hey, it’s fun.”
Poole, who said she and Green went to the store often, said it served a large area around Akron and would be missed.
Both women said they were impressed there was still “some decent stuff” left on the racks. The store closed at 5 p.m. Monday.
Several areas of the store were bare, but other areas had racks full of clothes.
Shopping carts were sparse and those customers who had carts had them brimming with potential purchases and in some cases were lugging several carts full of items.
Lorie Lenington-Stewart, her 8-year-old daughter, Emmie, and sister Julie Lenington- Ortiz, all of Akron, happened upon a bin of different patterned collapsible storage bins for drawers. Normally $7.99 each for two or one for $9.99, they’d be getting a cart full for 79 cents and 99 cents each.
“They don’t even match, but I don’t care,” said Lenington- Stewart. “It’s just cheap and you can’t pass it up.”
They joked that they could fulfill a New Year’s resolution of getting organized with the new items, but Lenington-Ortiz quipped, “we also said we weren’t going to spend money” as a resolution.
Lenington-Stewart also had a tray full of 24 colorful plastic insulated cups with straws in her cart.
“I’m a co-leader in my Girl Scout troop and I’m going to give these to my girls,” she said. The 24 cups, which retailed for $5.99 each, were 59 cents each, so Lenington-Stewart would get all 24 for $14.16, a savings of $129.60.
The sisters said the store was a great place for bargains and it’s sad that it’s closing.
Mall closed in 2008
The former JCPenney Outlet on Romig Road was the last store at the former Rolling Acres mall, which closed in 2008.
The inside of the central mall property closed when electricity was about to be turned off for nonpayment after several years of decline and retailers moving out. In 2011, a man died when he was electrocuted in an attempt to steal copper wiring. The last departure was Sears, which closed in the spring of 2011 and is now occupied by a private owner who runs a recycling business. The other former department stores attached to the mall are owned separately and operate privately for storage or recycling.
Summit County has begun foreclosure proceedings against the current owner of the mall, Premier Ventures LLC of California. Premier has not paid $674,221 in taxes since it purchased the mall in 2010. Premier also has liens against it for $457,798 from a California trust. Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise said if the property does not have a buyer and if the back taxes and liens are not satisfied, then a sheriff’s sale could take place next summer. If after two rounds, the mall is not purchased, the county would erase the delinquent taxes and liens and offer the property to the city.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic has said if that happens, the city would likely demolish the common areas of the mall, which have fallen into disrepair, and try to encourage other development.
Outlets end struggle
A public relations contact for SB Capital did not return a call seeking information about what will happen to the leftover inventory in the store after last night’s closing or what will happen to the property.
The JC’s 5 Star Outlet had been purchased in 2011 along with 14 other locations across the country by SB Capital Group LLC, an affiliate of retailer Schottenstein in Columbus. SB Capital announced in October it would close the stores nationwide by the end of the year, citing low sales.
However, the Rolling Acres location was always busy and in a May 2012 interview with the Beacon Journal, CEO Glen Gammons said the location was profitable and performed around the middle of the pack. But stores across the country were struggling since customers thought the outlet stores had closed when SB Capital bought them from JCPenney.