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SALEM Residents will miss shopping at Ames



Published: Sat, August 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



One shopper said she'll miss Ames' layaway plan.

STAFF/WIRE REPORT

SALEM -- Irene Lindquist of Columbiana is sorry to see the Ames store here closing, but she is taking the opportunity to hunt for bargains.

Not only is the Salem Ames slated for shutdown in coming weeks but so are the other three Ames stores in the area, located in East Liverpool, Champion and Liberty.

On Friday, Lindquist was at the Salem store, located in Salem Plaza on East State Street, to look for good prices on back-to-school items.

Her disappointment in the discount retailer's closing was echoed by other Ames customers.

"I like to shop here," Marge Hrvatin of Salem said. "They have a lot of variety. We need more stores, not less."

"We'll miss it," said Ron McFarland of Salem. "It's handy, and it's a nice place to shop."

A Wal-Mart is expected to open in coming months along East State Street.

The problem with Wal-Mart, McFarland said, is its size, which can make things hard to find. There's also those "big, long lines," he said.

Jody Juillerat of Leetonia said Ames is convenient and she likes its layaway plan.

"I've shopped here for years," said Jean Kline of Lisbon.

When Wal-Mart opens, she'll go there instead.

"I have no choice; there's nothing in Lisbon," Kline added.

Good location

Margie Kampfer, executive director of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, said she suspects the Ames store in Salem won't stay empty for long.

The location is a good one, especially with Wal-Mart coming to the area, Kampfer said.

Businesses like to be near Wal-Mart because they feel it draws customers, she explained.

Going-out-of-business sales are expected to start Sunday at all 327 of Ames' remaining stores nationwide.

By mid-October, the only thing left will be green-and-white signs over empty storefronts.

"This is a wrenching decision but the right course to take," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph R. Ettore. "Continued soft sales, combined with tightening terms and slower shipments from our suppliers, have reduced our funds availability below critical levels."

An estimated 21,500 people still work for Ames, which has been closing unprofitable stores since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August 2001.

As recently as last month, the Connecticut-based retailer continued to try to come up with new ideas to bring shoppers in.

A "Dollar Bargains" program was rolled out, offering everything from toys to picture frames and cleaning supplies, all priced at $1 each.




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