Even though store closings go on and on all over the country, at some of them are more poignant than others. Lord and Taylor, a store chain that has struggled for years because of declining retail shopping and now the pandemic, has announced the closing of all of its remaining 38 locations, including nine remaining NJ locations.

Lord and Taylor was the first—the oldest department store chain in the country. Founded 194 years ago, customers, especially women, always depended on it for solid, even slightly upscale quality merchandise. But even though it wasn't intimidating like Bloomingdale’s or Saks Fifth Avenue could be, it certainly felt a step up from Macy’s.

I was sad when the flag ship New York City location closed a few years ago. It had long been part of the landscape of New York City retail, but it wasn’t MY Eatontown store so it didn’t really hit home. But when they closed Lord and Taylor at the Monmouth Mall location, it really hit me. This was the beginning of the end.

I knew some of those employees by name because I had shopped there for so many years. I saw emptying out bit by bit down to the fixtures at the very end. And like a lot of my fellow Monmouth Mall shoppers, I remember when it first opened the Mall. We were so excited to see the upscale store, that it was almost as though we had arrived.

I can’t tell you how many last-minute special occasion dresses I ran into Lord and Taylor to purchase. It’s gonna sound crazy to talk about a store like this, but it was like a trusted friend you could always count on. Ask any woman who lived in Monmouth County when Lord and Taylor opened and she will tell you the same.When its parent company, LeTote, went bankrupt last year, we all kind of knew that the end was near.

And with all of the announcements of bankruptcies and closings we heard throughout the pandemic, it’s no longer a surprise to hear these things. But still, it always feels like a sad ending to a really nice familiar part of a life well lived here in New Jersey.

Here are the remaining Jersey stores that will close:

  • Bridgewater Commons, 400 Commons Way, Bridgewater, New Jersey
  • Fashion Center Route, Route 17 & Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus, New Jersey
  • Freehold Raceway Mall, 3710 Highway 9, Suite 1500, Freehold, New Jersey
  • Garden State Plaza, 504 Garden State Plaza, Paramus, New Jersey
  • Livingston Mall, 111 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, New Jersey
  • Quakerbridge Mall, Route 1 & Quakerbridge Road, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
  • Rockaway Town Square, Rt. 80 & Mt. Hope Road, Rockaway, New Jersey
  • Willowbrook Mall, 4 Willowbrook Blvd., Wayne, New Jersey
  • Freestanding store, 609 North Ave., Westfield, New Jersey

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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