MASON CITY, Iowa- The $38 million River City Renaissance project which includes a hotel, conference center, museum, skywalk, pavilion and multi-purpose arena is taking another turn Tuesday after Bon-Ton announced they will be closing 7 Iowa Younker stores.
“I’m devastated, said Kay Muhlenbruck of Greene. “I hadn’t heard anything about that.”
“This is disappointing,” said Randy Calaguas of Mason City. “We really need these stores in Mason City.”
Calaguas shops at Younkers a couple of times a month and said the news the anchor store in Southbridge mall was closing came as no surprise.
“I heard that Bon-Ton, who owns Younkers, was having difficulties, but I thought since it was the only show in town that maybe it would survive,” she said. “I guess I was wrong.”
Those with the city said they too saw this coming as communities all over the nation deal with dying malls. Mayor Bill Schickel, however, said the city of Mason City is ahead of the curve with making plans to turn the mall in to a place of entertainment and service industry businesses.
While Randy is in favor of the plans, she worries about the retail options.
“There are just fewer and fewer stores in the mall,” she said.
While this change means many will be searching for a new place to shop.
“There aren’t many department store options left close by,” said Calaguas.
“We’re going to just have to find some other place to shop,” said Mile Muhlenbruck.
Mayor Schickel said it is time for the community to rise to the occasion and support the ever evolving project, with or without Younkers.
“I really really want to see this project come to fruition and flourish here,” said Randy.