Claire’s store is leaving The Orchards Mall

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — A fashion accessories store will no longer have a space in The Orchards Mall by the end of the month.

Dawndee Lentz, who has been Claire’s store manager for more than five years, said she was notified by corporate offices late last month it would not renew the lease with the mall and would close Nov. 21.

“I’ve never, in all my years in retail management, closed a store. I’m beside myself,” Lentz said. “I knew our contract was up, but I really was hoping this would come after the holidays. It’s a wonderful company to work for.”

Claire’s is a global chain specialty retailer of jewelry and accessories for young women, teens and kids.

Lentz said Claire’s was one of the first stores to come to the Benton Township mall. Until Nov. 21, Lentz said the store is holding a liquidation sale.

While the news came earlier than expected, Lentz said deep down she was not surprised by the news.

“This Claire’s was a weak link in keeping the company numbers up, so I get it,” Lentz said. “They don’t want to sell a brand in a mall with four stores. There’s no competition and no complementary stores. When the Deb Shop was here, they sold gowns and dresses. Customers would come down here for jewelry.”

Lentz began her affiliation with Orchards in 1987 when she signed on as a brandmaster with Sears. She has left the mall before, but returned to go on and manage the Deb Shop, as well as Sensations/Underground Attitude.

“I’ve pierced so many ears and have been part of so many children’s lives in this community,” she said. “I’m going to start my journey at job hunting come January.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 12, 2015)

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