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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
The Coldwater Creek and Apricot Lane Boutique stores at Jefferson Pointe are going out of business.

2 stores to close their doors

Coldwater Creek, Apricot Lane leaving Jefferson Pointe

– A pair of looming store closings means Mother’s Day shoppers at Jefferson Pointe will probably find bargains.

Coldwater Creek Inc. and Apricot Lane Boutique will shut their doors at the southwest open-air shopping center. The retailers sit next to each other, but it’s coincidence that they’re going out of business about the same time.

The stores will close once all merchandise is liquidated.

Last month, women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after it couldn’t find a potential buyer or revenue source to save the business.

Besides its stores, Coldwater Creek said its website also remains open to shoppers.

A worker at the Jefferson Pointe store said employees haven’t been given a timetable for when the outlet will close. What is known is that the chain from Sandpoint, Idaho, hopes this Mother’s Day weekend will be big.

The company, founded in 1984, spent the past six months evaluating its options, but its declining financial resources, tough retail conditions and an inability to find other viable options drove it to file for bankruptcy protection.

A liquidation plan recently was reached to shed merchandise at its 334 stores, 31 factory outlet locations and seven day spas. Coldwater Creek employs about 6,000 people, including about a dozen in Fort Wayne.

Apricot Lane isn’t going out of business, but the Fort Wayne franchise is. The store sells women’s apparel, jewelry, handbags and accessories. Apricot Lane has more than 100 stores. It employs four workers at Jefferson Pointe.

Coldwater Creek said it reached an agreement with its lenders on a liquidation plan and struck a deal with inventory liquidators Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC and Hilco Merchant Resources LLC to manage its clearance sales.

The retailer said the liquidation plan doesn’t contemplate any recovery for its shareholders.

Coldwater Creek is getting $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing lender Wells Fargo to help it wind down its business. The company made its bankruptcy filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Jefferson Pointe General Manager Mike Brooks said shopping center officials are well into negotiations to fill the storefronts, but he could not provide more information. The exits of Coldwater Creek and Apricot Lane would leave about 6,000 square feet vacant.

Brooks said it’s not often that two retailers – especially right next to each other – go out of business at the same time.

“That is certainly a rarity,” he said in an email. “It is also an exciting opportunity for us to continue to refresh the shopping center.”

Brooks touted the recent openings of Marshalls, Tucano’s Brazilian Grill, Aveda, Soma, White House Black Market, Francesca’s, Mainstream Boutique, True West Coast Style, Soma, Artworks Fine Art Gallery, an improved Old Navy and Gymboree that is coming soon.

pwyche@jg.net

The Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal contributed to this story.

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