The recent news that Bon Ton - the parent company of Younkers - had filed bankruptcy, and then had been bought out by a liquidation company caused strong emotions among Twin Ports shoppers.  The department store had been an anchor in the Miller Hill Mall since it replaced Glass Block (itself a Duluth institution) in 1998.  In addition, many Northlanders lamented the fact that the number of sources for the sort of products Younkers carried is dwindling in our area.

As the liquidators clear out what remains of the Duluth Younkers, an official closing date has been arranged sometime this summer.  After it's gone, though comes the real question:  what takes its place?  Younkers occupied one of the larger footprints in the Miller Hill Mall - around 161,000 square feet.  Filling that location won't be easy on many fronts.  If the total square footage wasn't a hurdle the fact that the store existed on two floors - with an escalator - will also play a part in whatever eventual replacement store takes Younkers place.

At the same time, major big box stores like Younkers are dwindling in numbers.  The Bon Ton-Younkers/Herbegers bankruptcy follows the closure of chains like Toys R Us and Montgomery Ward.  Simply said there are just less of those types of major national chain stores to take Younkers place in the mall setting.

Don't hear me wrong; I'm not suggesting that the space will sit vacant.  The Miller Hill Mall is a vibrant location, with good visibility and foot traffic for the right candidate.

So what would you like to see in the old Younkers location?

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