JC Penney Puts Kemmerer ‘Mother Store’ up for Auction

JC Penney Puts Kemmerer ‘Mother Store’ up for Auction

The JCPenney “mother store” in Kemmerer, Wyo., has operated continuously since opening in 1902. (Google Maps)

Originally Reported By Oil City Staff 

One of the 20th century’s most storied retail brands is putting its first-ever store up for auction amid struggles to survive.

JCPenney, which traces its roots to the little store in Kemmerer, Wyo., announced on Friday it was auctioning the store along with more than 160 other properties.

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According to Forbes Magazine, the retailer’s “disposition portfolio” was assembled by real estate firms Cushman & Wallace and Riley. It lists 142 leased locations and 21 company-owned stores in the auction, which is scheduled for the middle of September.

“These 163 locations were targeted for closure in order to help facilitate the company’s sale as part of the court proceedings,” said Forbes.

Forbes says most of the properties were currently involved in liquidation proceedings, but the Kemmerer store addition was a surprise.

“The store will likely be liquidated and closed soon after this auction date,” said Forbes.

Businessman James Cash Penney opened the Kemmerer store in 1902 as the Golden Rule before rebranding with his own name. It has operated continuously ever since and has since become something of a tourist attraction.

The retailer become one of the largest in the country during the last century. Today it operates more than 800 stores, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. For the backstory click here.