GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Some Younkers stores in Wisconsin may come back again. Younkers parent company, Bon-Ton Stores, has signed a deal with tech company CSC Generation.
Younkers.com home page displays the store is coming back
CSC now discussing with landlords of possibly re-opening stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Pennsylvania, but the deal still needs final approval from bankruptcy court.
Action 2 News reported Bon-Ton Stores filed bankruptcy in February. A dozen Younkers stores in Wisconsin closed, including ones in Appleton and Ashwaubenon. More than 2,200 employees lost their jobs.
Once the deal is finalized, CSC plans to grow Bon-Ton Stores’ digital presence. CSC Generation's website claims they are 'saving companies from Amazon.'
"This is a business that's done this before, they've done this with other stores where they've taken them over, sort of tried to leverage the e-commerce component, so they know how to do this, so that's their strategic approach of ‘we're good at quickly sort of reshaping businesses and we can do this,’ that could be their unique skillset, and they could come back around pretty quickly," said Dr. Vallari Chandna, a business management professor for the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.
The focus won't just be on e-commerce. CSC also plans on tailoring Bon-Ton Stores to fit the needs of today's customers, following principles from fast fashion chains, like Zara, H&M and Forever21.
"It's a difficult thing to succeed at, they might have done it in the past and taking this 'fast fashion' approach might work, but 'fast fashion' is not what you associate with the name ‘Bon Ton,’ so I don't know whether they'll be able to make that connection easily enough, but I'm excited to see where it goes," Chandna says.
Chandna thinks Wisconsin is on CSC’s list of possible Bon-Ton re-openings because it was once a successful location.
“It just made sense for them that at that time, ‘we needed to shut down everything due to cost reasons and inefficiencies,’ but now that we're re-opening lets go back to the ones that we know were successful the first time around," said Chandna.
Chandna says if Bon Ton Stores decide to re-open in the Green Bay area it could take some time. In the meantime it's very possible the empty big box stores could be rented out to holiday pop up retailers, just like Green Bay is seeing with Toys 'R' Us. The Toys ‘R’ Us in Green Bay is now being used as a Spirit Halloween Store.
"So some of them turned into these Halloween themed stores or they'll turn into Christmas themed, holiday themed, Valentine's Day themed, so it is quite possible these stores will take different approaches for small periods of time," Chandna adds.