Cohen’s Closing Downtown Store | Company Blames Changing Retail Trends For Decision To Shutter 118 Year Old Location


DATE: 02/12/1997


Company Blames Changing Retail Trends For Decision To Shutter 118 Year Old Location By CLARE HOWARD

PEORIA — After doing business in downtown Peoria for 118 years, Cohen Furniture Co. announced Tuesday it is closing its flagship store at 336.

Employees were informed of-the decision Tuesday morning. A-final date for the closing will be set after a close-out sale.

“It did not come as a surprise to employees at a really bearing “the date was the flagship store, the ‘mother store, a true showplace in its time.” said Richard Graf chief executive officer.

“I told our people this is not a reflection of their abilities in management and sales. It is a reflection of the time and the way people like to shop.”

Graff said a once-thriving downtown retail climate was pared down to just Cohen’s and Sears.

“Retail is leaving the metropolitan area. I do not see that changing,” he said.

About 15 employees in the store will be affected by the closing out the company will  try to relocate them to other outlets.

About 25 employees worked in the company’s corporate offices downtown. Those jobs will be transferred to the company’s distribution center in Peoria Heights.

While it does not release sales figures, Graf said the company has ranked among the top 100 furniture stores in the country over-the last 10 years.

Three years ago Cohen’s purchased Ethan Allen Interiors, 613 W. Lake Ave. The company also known as Ethan Alien store in Bloomington.

Graf said the company board of directors has discussed the future of the down town store for a number of years.

This facility was an important part of a lot of people’s lives. It is sad to see it go but, we must do what’s in the best interest of the company,” Graf said. “We did not want to abandon downtown, but we must face reality.

He is looking for another location in the metropolitan Peoria area.

Feb. 17 is the last day the store will be open for regular business. It will be closed Feb. 18 through Feb. 21. to mark down merchandise for a liquidation  sale  beginning  at 10 a.m. Feb. 22. No final date has been set for closing. That will. Come in early spring, Graf said.