The word is out. And you’re gonna hear it here first. The iconic department store JCPenney which has anchored Monmouth Mall since the late 1970s is about to close. And although it’s not shocking, it’s sad.

I've heard the rumors around my town, and although it hasn’t been officially announced by the owners yet, it’s pretty much a done deal.

When Kushner Companies bought out its partners ownership stake in the mall, its plans included apartments where the store now stands.

And so, according to store employees and onlookers who have seen the liquidation signs outside the store, it’s the beginning of the end for the store which has dressed thousands of people, and decorated and equipped thousands of homes for the last 46 or so years.

Chris Cronin is a guy who videos elevators and posts them on YouTube. He also reports on store closings. He’s Not necessarily the kind of guy you think would be a real news hound.

But his latest YouTube video details what pretty much confirms the closing and reports that employees have also confirmed the rumors.

Additionally, he includes a photo of the signage in the store which announces the liquidation, making it clear that the rumors are true. Twitter user @CocoRip2 posted the YouTube video on Twitter if you want to see it there.

The “What’s going there in Monmouth and Ocean Counties” Facebook page run by the Asbury Park Press has a flurry of comments from people including, “Yesterday as I was driving to the mall, I saw signs outside of JCPenney which resemble when stores are going out of business or closing such as ‘entire store on sale’ and ‘nothing held back'.”

A few other commenters said that the store would be closing on or around October 23, though that was not confirmed.

JCPenney store sign (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
JCPenney store sign (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

The company announced several phases of store closures in 2020 and 2021, resulting in the liquidation of 175 JCPenney locations and eventually affecting almost 30% of its 846 stores.

In the first phase, none of those closures were in NJ, according to

Fifty more are slated to be closed by the end of this year. And even though many suspected a few others would be on the chopping block before this one, all signs now point to the end of the Monmouth Mall location.

JC Penney store (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
JC Penney store (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

I have years of memories of buying clothing and housewares for myself and my family from that store. It’s sad to think of it gone. But I’m a big fan of progress in this state. And in this retail environment, I’m looking forward to the changes. And hoping they will be positive ones for the area.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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