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TMCNet:  Goody's, Mandolin among latest businesses to close doors

[January 10, 2009]

Goody's, Mandolin among latest businesses to close doors

(Daily News, The (Bowling Green, KY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 10--As a recession continues to plague the nation, a few more Bowling Green businesses are closing.

Goody's Family Clothing retail chain is liquidating all of its 287 stores about three months after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to reports -- a sign that the company could soon close its doors, said Rick Shannon, marketing department chairman and associate marketing professor at Western Kentucky University.
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"In effect, what they're doing is turning everything into cash," he said. "That would be an indication (that the store will close)."

A company generally uses its liquidated assets to pay its creditors and shareholders. Goody's liquidation should be completed by the end of March, reports say.

Local and corporate Goody's officials declined to comment.

The company operates a store on Scottsville Road next to Greenwood Mall; it shares a building with Afni, a call center. In the wake of a possible closure, that space would be difficult to lease to another retailer, said Alex Nottmeier, real estate broker with Neal Turner Realty.

"Retailers right now have put the breaks on in terms of expansion," he said. "What I would consider traditional apparel retailers are just not out there right now."

In fact, vacant retail space is likely to increase in 2009. Usually, Bowling Green has positive absorption -- is more space becomes occupied than comes up vacant. That might not be the case this year, Nottmeier said.

"There's a chance this year we'll see negative absorption," he said. "When you compare occupied (space), we'll have more square footage vacant."

But as retailers struggle, typical retail space is used for decidedly different purposes, such as self-storage operations and churches. With a call center next door, that is a trend a vacant Goody's could follow, Nottmeier said.

Still, several Goody's stores serve as anchor shops, drawing customers to a shopping center that houses smaller, lesser-known retailers. Those shops could be in trouble without a giant retailer, Shannon said.

"Once the anchor goes, smaller stores around it go because they don't have the drawing power," he said.

Signs that read "Everything Must Go" and "Nothing Held Back" hang from the local Goody's store.

Nancy Brigance of Russellville said Goody's is one of her favorite stores. Standing outside the store on Thursday, Brigance said she was disappointed that the company is liquidating.

"I think it's horrible," she said. "They're not going to leave any good stores. I think it's a shame."

In fact, a possible Goody's closure could start a trend of national retail shutdowns, Shannon said.

"I think it could be (a trend) with some of the weaker ones," he said. "Goody's has never had a strong reputation quality-wise ... In this economy, people are going to the ones they know and ones they trust."

The economic damage isn't limited to Goody's -- clothing retailer Steve & Barry's, located in Greenwood Mall, will close in about 10 days, while Mandolin, a local eatery on Chestnut Street, recently closed.

Mandolin's owners could not be reached for comment, but Sara Watson -- who manages You & Me restaurant just across the street -- said she was not surprised by the news.

"I've worked at a lot of personally-owned restaurants and a lot have closed in January," she said. "It's right after the holidays and people are saving money."

Watson said business at her restaurant has been slow, but not as dismal as she expected. Last year, business picked up around mid-January, she said.

"We're looking forward to getting back to that place and seeing if it picks up," she said. "I have a positive outlook."

To see more of the Bowling Green Daily News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.bgdailynews.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, The Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.
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