ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - Starting Friday, Bon-Ton department stores are in a liquidation sale ahead of hundreds of store closings across the country and here in Northeast Wisconsin.
Younkers, Boston Store, Elder-Beerman and other department store chains owned by Bon-Ton Company are closing after Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy.
A hoped-for sale to a couple of mall owners didn't pan out, so this week Bon-Ton went to a bankruptcy auction and there were only two bidders -- both liquidators.
According to court filings, these stores must be closed before August 31.
Bon Ton says 2,255 people in Wisconsin will be out of a job, including more than 100 in the Green Bay area.
If you have a gift card or need to make a return to Younkers, run. You have less than 10 days before those are null and void.
Younkers at Bay Park Square Mall in Ashwaubenon is accepting returns through April 29 and is legally required to give people 10 days to use their gift cards.
Inside the store we found these facts weren't advertised.
But there were signs everywhere saying "Going out of business! Everything must go." Almost everything is marked down 20 percent.
"I'm used to shopping at Younkers, I'm so sad that it's closing! It's horrible," shopper Beverly Beno said.
We met a group of longtime Younkers customers who aren't taking the news well.
"We're all sad to see the store close. We got attached to a lot of the workers here. We're sorry that they lost their jobs, but even sorrier that we can't use our coupons anymore," Beno said.
Shoppers were confused after finding coupons in the newspaper to use at Younkers on Friday, but the store is no longer accepting coupons or Younkers Rewards, according to their website and signs all over the store.
"They're not honoring coupons that just came out in today's paper. It could be false advertising," Beno expressed.
There was also some confusion over a table set up encouraging people to apply for jobs at this Younkers store, with fliers telling people it's hiring in seven departments.
It's not uncommon for stores in liquidation to hire workers knowing their job is temporary, to keep the stores open during the sales, while current workers begin seeking other, more stable employment. The same is happening at store closings at Toys 'R Us and Sears.
Beno says she never shops online. "No, never. I think that's what's ruining everything."