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Bon-Ton

Bon-Ton officials announced recently the department store in Aviation Mall will be closed. The store has been at the mall in Queensbury since 1999.

QUEENSBURY — Aviation Mall is losing Bon-Ton as part of the department store chain’s reorganization.

Bon-Ton announced Wednesday it is closing 42 stores nationwide.

In New York state, it is also closing stores at Salmon Run Mall in Watertown and St. Lawrence Center in Massena.

The company said it expects to also close five more stores in the U.S. this year.

There is a Bon-Ton at the Wilton Mall, which so far has remained off the closure list.

At Aviation Mall, Bon-Ton will begin a store closing sale on Thursday, company officials said. The sale will run for 10 to 12 weeks. Employees at the store will be able to interview for positions at other locations, but layoffs are expected, company officials said.

Bon-Ton is one of the large anchors at the mall, at 80,000 square feet. It’s near Regal Cinemas, in what mall General Manager James Griffith has called the side of the mall that needs more popular stores.

In December, he said he would like to have a large space that he could aggressively market to a company that would draw in many customers.

“If we can get something down in this end of the mall that’s a high-touch, this will take off. It only takes one,” he said in December.

He’s eager to get an electronics store like Best Buy, or a bookstore.

“We’re actively looking for both,” he said in January, prior to the Bon-Ton announcement. “We’ve utilized anchors as a way to increase foot traffic. In-line stores are co-dependent on different anchors.”

Bon-Ton has been at the mall since 1999.

Griffith on Wednesday called the closing “unfortunate” because the store had been a mainstay at the mall for so long.

“When stores are in a community that long, they become rooted in people’s memories,” he said. “Though unfortunate, the space is not unfamiliar with loss. Caldor’s shuttered the space in 1998, allowing Bon-Ton to enter the market.”

He noted that Bon-Ton has its own entrance and “a lot of marketable exterior frontage.”

“There is no immediate plans for the space, but it definitely opens up opportunities for Aviation to reinvent the space once again,” he said.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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