LAKEWOOD – Chautauqua County Legislative Chairman and District 10 Legislator P.J. Wendel is telling his constituents that the impending closure of the local Sears isn’t a “doom and gloom” situation despite its appearance to those who will be losing their jobs.
In an interview with WNYNewsNow Tuesday afternoon, Wendel said that he remains confident that the area will continue to experience economic growth.
“I wouldn’t tell people it’s a doom and gloom, I think there’s a lot of great businesses and a lot of great growth, especially in Lakewood and the Town of Busti,” Wendel said. “I feel confident in our development, I feel confident in developers coming into this area.”
“It’s very unfortunate for those families that are losing their jobs but, on the other hand, if you look at what (County Executive) George Borrello said, we’ve got a lot of jobs in this county.”
Wendel talked more about the lost jobs when asked about the impact of Sears closing.
“There’s going to be families displaced,” Wendel said. “That’s what you think about first, the people who are losing their livelihood and are forced to leave the area or relocate because of having to find a job.”
Busti Town Supervisor Jesse Robbins echoed Wendel’s sentiments about the lost jobs when reached by WNYNewsNow Monday afternoon.
“I sympathize (with those who lost their jobs),” Robbins said. “Anytime you have a big deal like that, it’s not good.”
Wendel also discussed the impact of the Sears impending closing on Chautauqua County from a taxing standpoint.
“The sales tax revenue (from Sears items), those are things we’re going to lose,” Wendel said. “And you couple that with the Bon Ton (closing), now you’re looking at the potential stability of Chautauqua Mall.”
The Lakewood Sears store will be closing at the end of the year in the wake of Sears Holdings filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a report from BusinessInsider.com, who cited court documents.
A total of 142 Kmart and Sears locations are closing nationwide. According to the report, liquidation sales at additional stores are expected within the next few months.
The local Kmart was not on the list of closures.