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Kanawha City shoppers react to Elder-Beerman closing

Elder Beerman announces Tuesday that it will soon be closing stores across the country. In West Virginia, this includes the stores in Kanawha City in Charleston, the Liberty Square Shopping Center in Hurricane, the store at the Kyova Mall in Ashland, Ky., and a department store in Athens, Ohio. (WCHS/WVAH)

Elder-Beerman announced Tuesday that it will soon be closing stores across the country. In West Virginia, this includes the stores in Kanawha City in Charleston, the Liberty Square Shopping Center in Hurricane, the store at the Kyova Mall in Ashland, Ky., and a department store in Athens, Ohio.

It was a very emotional day for shoppers in Kanawha City -- some even shedding tears -- as they remembered the good times over the years.

"No one even hinted that this might be our last shopping spree. I'm sad. I'm sad today,” Disaree Rush of South Charleston said.

For Rush, trips to Elder-Beerman in Kanawha City were about more than just shopping.

"I love this store because I have a handicap daughter in a wheelchair. She doesn't like crowds. It's hard to find a place where we can find our girls day and shop,” Rush said.

So you can imagine her reaction when Bon-Ton Stores Inc. announced hundreds of closures across the nation.

"We can come in here, and she feels so comfortable. I'll just have to find that somewhere else,” Rush said.

The company announced the winning bid in an auction for its assets. Officials said Great American Group LLC and Tiger Capitol Group LLC will acquire inventory and other company assets. In a statement, Bon-Ton's president and chief executive officer said, in part, he is disappointed with the outcome, but that the company is committed to working with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations.

"I found out when we were walking in" customer Joyce Harding said. "It made me really sad."

More details about liquidation plans and sales will be released at a later time. Officials said the stores will remain open throughout those closing sales, but many shoppers wonder how much time they will have left.

"Maybe some miracle will happen, where we can still have this time together in a place like Elder-Beerman,” Rush said.

There is no word on exactly when the stores will close, but employees Eyewitness News spoke with said it could be as soon as 10 to 12 weeks.

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