Goody's to liquidate and vacate

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Shelbyville soon will lose one of its most popular shopping destinations.


Goody's Family Clothing Store started a liquidation sale Thursday and, along with all of the 282 other stores in the chain, will close its doors in the next few months. 

The announcement, which was made public on Wednesday, was released before store employees were notified.

On Wednesday afternoon a cashier admitted that she had heard customers talking about the closure but had heard nothing official from local and national management.

Jerry Karem, the owner of Village Plaza Shopping Center, said in December the store was behind on paying rent. He said on Monday the corporate leaders of Goody's had a conference call with all of the company's lenders, vendors and landlords, asking them to work with the company concerning payments for products and rent.

The deal seems to have fallen through when the vendors were unwilling to go for it, he said.

Karem said he received an e-mail on Wednesday from the Goody's announcing the stores will be holding an "orderly liquidation" of its product.

Karem said the local store was an asset to the community.

"This is an unfortunate case where a group of investors acquired a family-owned establishment, put a lot of debt on it, and then didn't focus on the business," he said. “My guess is the subprime mess had a very negative effect on their lines of credit.”

Though the chain is going under, Karem said is holding out hope that the local store will survive.

"We have one of the better stores in their chain," he said. "Even in the current economic environment, because of Shelbyville’s positive growth trends, we should have a easier time than most replacing Goody’s.”

Calls to Goody's home office in Knoxville, Tenn., were not returned.

Goody's, a moderately priced family apparel store, faces stiff competition from Wal-Mart and other large department stores across the nation and the state.

After months of declining profit margins, closing "underperforming stores" and restructuring itself under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company has been unable to survive the economic recession. 

In July the chain announced that it is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and would close 69 stores, including two in Lexington and one in Paducah, and since the beginning of the year, the chain has closed 25 locations, reducing the chain's size by about 20 percent.

The chain, which has been in existence for 55 years, had 355 locations in 20 states in the South and Midwest, including 28 in Kentucky.

Despite strong holiday sales locally, on the whole the company had a less stellar Christmas season. 

An employee at the local store said the stores closing is a shame.

"If all of the stores in the chain were as good as this one, we wouldn't have to close," he said.