April 20--OTTUMWA -- The story of Ottumwa's Herberger's store began in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The chain -- which started with one store -- kept its corporate offices in St. Cloud up until the year 2000, when the current owner moved headquarters in order to consolidate office work.
As the announcements of Bon-Ton going into bankruptcy became more frequent, so too did coverage in the chain's hometown newspaper, the St. Cloud Times.
The coverage culminated with a timeline describing the Herberger's company from beginning to end.
According to the Times, Bob Herberger founded the Herberger-Hart Co. in 1927. Herberger lived in St. Cloud from 1934-1947.
After opening more stores in Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana and North Dakota, the Times reports that in 1989, Herberger's came to Iowa, with one store in Ottumwa and another in Waterloo.
Bon-Ton supplied its own timeline Friday. They wrote that the oldest store owned by Bon-Ton was founded in 1854:
"The oldest was founded before the Civil War," states a release, "the youngest before the Great Depression. They have thrived in the face of historic upheavals and profound cultural and technological transformations.
Through it all, our associates have been the bed-rock upon which all of our success has been built. Each generation has adapted and found new ways to serve and engage our customers with great service and merchandise."
That legacy has ended this week, though many locations are still open.
Great American Group, LLC and Tiger Capital Group, LLC now own Bon-Ton, Herberger's and all the other stores under the Bon-Ton umbrella.
A press release issued by Bon-Ton company Friday states they'll try to be as gentle as possible as the stores sell off their inventory and then, close.
"The Company is committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact on associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve."
Stores won't be padlocked in a day or two: "The Company's stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers nameplates will remain open throughout the store closing sales."
The most recent announcement came out Friday morning, saying the going-out-of-business sales had begun. These liquidation sales, the company said, could run 10 to 12 weeks.
Staff writer Mark Newman can be contacted at [email protected]
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