Wednesday, February 20, 2019 || By Bob Uphues/Riverside-Brookfield-Landmark || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Payless ShoeSource at 2210 Harlem in North Riverside. | Bob Uphues
Two more retail spaces will be vacated in North Riverside in the next few months now that Payless ShoeSource Inc. has decided to liquidate its roughly 2,100 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Both of the Payless locations in North Riverside – at 2210 Harlem Ave. in the North Riverside Plaza Shopping Center and at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road – started liquidation sales on Feb. 18.
An employee of the Harlem Avenue store, which employs nine people, said liquidation could last until May.
In addition, an employee at the Payless at 1234 Winston Plaza in Melrose Park said that location has also started liquidation sales, but didn’t know how long the liquidation process would last.
In the meantime, Reuters reported last week that the company later this month will file for bankruptcy protection for the second time since 2017. Payless Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017 and closed 400 stores at that time.
The company subsequently was acquired by a group of creditors, which included the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, Invesco Senior Secured Management and Octagon Credit Investors, according to the company’s website.
Payless ShoeSource started in Topeka, Kansas, in 1956 and, according to its website, employs more than 18,000 people worldwide. The Payless locations outside of the U.S. reportedly are not part of the liquidation plan.
It’s been a rough three years for retail in North Riverside, beginning in 2016 when Sports Authority closed its doors at 1900 Harlem Ave. A year later H.H. Gregg closed on Cermak Road, followed in 2018 by a triple whammy of losing Toys R Us, Carson Pirie Scott and Tony’s Finer Foods.
North Riverside’s already downsized Sears store at North Riverside Park Mall escaped the same fate earlier this month when a U.S. bankruptcy judge accepted a $5.2 billion dollar bid for the company’s assets by Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert, though industry experts doubt the long-term viability of Sears.
It hasn’t been all bad news, though clearly the face of big-box retail is changing in North Riverside.
Binny’s Beverage Depot quickly replaced H.H. Gregg at 7250 Cermak Road and Divine Consign, an upscale furniture consignment shop occupies a portion of the former Sports Authority. The remainder of the former Sports Authority space will be occupied later this year by a Cook County Health and Hospitals System clinic.
What used to be the lower-level of Sears at North Riverside Mall is now half occupied by Round One, a family entertainment complex. Amita Health will move into another part of the former Sears lower level later this year.
And earlier this month, North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. announced a lease deal was imminent for a new tenant at the former Tony’s Finer Foods space at 7401 25th St., but that the prospective tenant was not a retail company. VFP
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