Owensboro's Macy's department store will close this spring.

Carolyn Ng Cohen, director of media relations for Macy's, said in a prepared statement, "After careful consideration, Macy's has decided to close Macy's Towne Square Mall store in Owensboro. A clearance sale will begin in January 2020 and run for approximately 8-12 weeks."

She said the company had notified local employees.

"Regular, non-seasonal colleagues who we are unable to place at nearby Macy's stores will be eligible for severance, including outplacement resources," Cohen said. "The decision to close a store is always a difficult one, but Macy's is proud to have served the Owensboro community over the past 22 years and we look forward to continuing to do so at nearby Macy's Evansville store and online at macys.com."

Macy's came to Owensboro at Wesleyan Park Plaza in 2003, when Federated Department Stores, which owned both Lazarus and Macy's decided to merge the names as Lazarus-Macy's on its 42 Lazarus locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

That included the Lazarus location in Wesleyan Park Plaza, which had opened in 1987.

The idea was to use the Macy's brand to improve sales.

In 2005, the Lazarus name was dropped and the stores became Macy's.

A few months later, Federated bought May Department Stores, which owned the Famous-Barr store in Towne Square Mall.

That store opened in 1978 as Bacons and became Famous-Barr 20 years later.

In 2006, Federated closed the Wesleyan Park Plaza location and merged both locations at the mall under the Macy's brand.

But the store isn't part of Towne Square Mall.

It's owned by Macy's.

Last month, Matt Hayden, Jack Wells and others bought Towne Square Mall.

Asked Monday if they planned to buy the Macy's building as well, Hayden said, "We'll pay attention to what goes on there because of our investment. It's not a positive situation."

He said the fact that Macy's owned the Owensboro location was "the glue that's kept them here this long."

Macy's has closed a number of its stores in recent years.

Hayden said the company did not notify the mall's owners of the decision to close the store.

Amazon is killing local retail stores across the country, he said.

"If I was an elected official, I would be concerned about what Amazon is doing to small town America," Hayden said. "They have no investment in Owensboro or communities our size. What happens to communities when retail stores close and the property values drop?"

Communities will likely have to raise taxes to make up for the lost tax income, he said.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

(1) comment


Me. Hayden’s comments are entirely incorrect in reference to Amazon. The shoppers in the surrounding area make all the choices as to where they shop. Our local friends and neighbors made the decision not to support local businesses and not to support their friends, neighbors, and relatives in our local retail stores. I was in Macy’s a few days before Christmas and the place was deserted. I knew then that trouble lay ahead. The people of Owensboro and Daviess county determined the fate of Macy’s not Amazon, just as they will determine the fate of Mr. Hayden’s and Well’s endeavors at the new mall. There will always be competition for every retail dollar. The customer decides where it’s spent.

On another note, I wonder if there is any identifiable correlation between an area’s obesity rates and the demise of its local retail? That would be an interesting study!

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