Fight to save Decorah J.C. Penney store intensifies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fight to save Decorah J.C. Penney store intensifies

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DECORAH (KWWL) -

The fight to save the 95-year-old J.C. Penney store in Decorah is ramping up.

This coming as CNBC reports the company will push back the closing of 138 stores for a month to 6 weeks.

Efforts to save the store have been underway since the chain first announced it would close that location.

"If we don't do anything, they're surely going to leave. So why not do anything we can to communicate to J.C. Penney, and amongst the community, how important that sense of local is," said Christina Wiltgen, executive director of the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce.

They've started a letter writing campaign and have more than 3,300 signatures on an online petition.

Wiltgen is also urging everyone in Decorah to buy at least one item from the store, hoping good numbers will save the store.

"We hope that we get a response from J.C. Penney, and hope that they will listen to what we have to say," said Decorah Mayor Don Arendt.

They fight for this store, because it means more than just a place to shop for many in the community.

"My wife, who is actually from this county, said she as a kid came with her parents to J.C. Penney, so there are generations that come to J.C. Penney," Arendt said.

"You talk to folks at the Vesterheim gift shop, and they have people who come down from the cities, and they save their shopping to do in downtown Decorah, and possibly, specifically at the J.C. Penney store, because they get such a different experience here than they get in any other J.C. Penney," said Wiltgen.

So far, they haven't heard back from any leadership within the company, but Wiltgen says they'd send people to the company's headquarters in Texas if they're willing to listen.

Meanwhile, the company says better sales have prompted them to postpone the closures, which are now scheduled for the end of July.

They say the closures will help save them about $200 million a year.

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