Another day, another Lewiston store bites the dust.
Pittsburgh-based Rue21 LLC confirmed Wednesday morning that its location at the Nez Perce Plaza will be closing. The revelation came in response to a direct message from the Lewiston Tribune on the Rue21 Facebook page, but follow-up calls to its corporate headquarters seeking more information were not answered Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Rue21 news follows an announcement by Macy’s Inc. that it will close 30 stores around the country, including its outlet in the Lewiston Center Mall, up from the initial list of 15 stores first reported Monday by BusinessInsider.com. The approximately 50 people who work at the Lewiston store will be out of work after an eight-to-12-week clearance sale, but many should be eligible for job placement assistance and other severance, according to Macy’s.
There were no new developments Wednesday on the possible closure of another Lewiston retail outlet, the Pier 1 Imports Inc. home decor store that sits next to Rue21. That company announced Monday that it is closing as many as 450 of its 942 stores nationwide, but didn’t identify which stores. Employees working there Wednesday said they were not allowed to comment on the situation.
Rue21, a specialty retailer of women’s casual apparel and accessories, opened in Lewiston in 2016. The company underwent bankruptcy reorganization in 2017, but the Lewiston store remained in operation.
Manager Chayla Maltba said she had not heard any concrete information from the Rue21 corporate office about a pending closure. The store had few customers Wednesday afternoon, but 17-year-old Elise Andrews, of Kooskia, was there shopping for jeans.
The Clearwater Valley High School student said she has visited the store about eight times since it opened, but didn’t feel too much grief that it will be closing.
“Sometimes they have good deals,” Andrews said. “But for the most part, everything is really spendy.”
The Rue21 closure will come during a tumultuous period for the Nez Perce Plaza development. The Safeway grocery store there closed in 2016, and several other retail spaces remain vacant. But the Ulta Beauty Inc. cosmetics store opened last year after building a new space on the east end of the row of stores that includes Rue21 and Pier 1.
The Lewiston Urban Renewal Agency partnered with the McCann Family Limited Partnership to complete the extension of Nez Perce Drive to Gun Club Road last year with hopes for an increase in drive-by traffic that would help lure more customers to Nez Perce Plaza. And while it may be too early to assess whether the project will pay off in that regard, many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to survive in a business environment that is increasingly dominated by online outlets like Amazon.
Mills may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2266.