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Davis, California

Thursday, December 7, 2023

University Mall’s Gottschalks goes out of business

By the end of June, the Gottschalks store at the U-Mall will be gone completely.

The Fresno-based department store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 14, and bankruptcy court Judge Kevin Carey signed a liquidation order Apr. 1 in Wilmington, Del., according to the Associated Press. A liquidation sale began last Friday, and could last from 45 to 90 days according to the Sacramento Bee.

Gottschalks chairman and CEO Jim Famalette, told the Fresno Bee on Apr. 1 that he’sstill in communication with a Chinese liquidator.

Famalette saidthere may be an opportunity to give a rebirth to Gottschalks if the company, Shandong Commercial Group, decides to acquire some of the retailer’s assets during the upcoming liquidation sale, including the rights to the Gottschalks name.

There is no set replacement for the store in Davis thus far.

“We are exploring a variety of potential retailers that will benefit the merchandise mix for the surrounding community,said Stacy Slater, senior vice president of investment marketing for the Centro Property Group, the University Mall landlord, in an e-mail interview.

Gottschalksclosing has prompted some community members to wonder if there may now be space for a Trader Joe’s grocery store at the U-Mall.

“I would be happy with a Trader Joe’s coming into with the U-Mall,said sophomore psychology major Rebecca Distefano.I think a different department store would also be convenient because freshmen need a close place for last minute socks or clothing.

Junior human development major Penny Chenpanas thinks Trader Joe’s would be convenient for students.

“I honestly think Target would be great here, but there’s probably not enough space,Chenpanas said.Trader Joe’s would be useful because Safeway is so far away, especially if you don’t have a car [if you live near the U-Mall]. You either have to eat at the dining commons or make an inconvenient trip.

Local customers also shared similar sentiments. One had a different take on the potential Trader Joe’s.

“I’m sorry to see Gottschalks go,said Davis customer and resident Wanda Winton, who says she has lived in Davis most of her life.I’m neutral on Trader Joe’s. I would shop there, but I’d like to see another department store similar to Gottschalks with a variety of clothing.

Gottschalks employees are not allowed to comment at this time, while Gottschalks corporate division could not be reached for comment. Trader Joe’s representatives had no comment.

Last year Trader Joe’s attempted, but failed, to lease a site at the mall that is currently occupied by a radiology clinic.

There are 58 Gottschalks stores spread over California, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. The retail store started in 1904.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached city@theaggie.org.


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