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JCPenney is selling its original 118-year-old location in Kemmerer, Wyoming, marking the end of an era for the bankrupt department store

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/4/2020 insider@insider.com (Bethany Biron)
a man sitting at a desk in front of a window: James Cash Penney admiring a picture of his first store on his 86th birthday. Pictorial Parade/Getty Images © Pictorial Parade/Getty Images James Cash Penney admiring a picture of his first store on his 86th birthday. Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
  • JCPenney is selling its first-ever store location founded in 1902 in Kemmerer, Wyoming, by James Cash Penney.
  • The historic property is one of several locations to be sold off as part of the struggling retailer's bankruptcy recovery strategy –– as disclosed in a recent disposition portfolio.
  • Penney called the store "The Golden Rule" before it was renamed to JCPenney and the company set up its headquarters in New York City in 1914. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

JCPenney is selling off its historic 118-year-old location in Kemmerer, Wyoming, marking the end of an era for the department store brand. 

The first-ever JCPenney store was known as "The Golden Rule" and named by founder James Cash Penney as an ode to the popular idiom "treat others as you would like to be treated." The store was later rebranded to JCPenney in 1914, the same year the retailer erected its headquarters in New York City.

JCPenney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May in response to pressure from the coronavirus, which temporarily shuttered stores and led to sales plummeting. For JCPenney, the announcement came on the heels of several years of sales woes, as well as in the middle of a turnaround plan announced by executives in 2019.

Now, as part of the bankruptcy reorganization process, the company will begin selling off property en masse. 

a group of people in a horse drawn carriage in front of a house: An illustration of the store in the early 1900s. Bettman/Getty Images © Bettman/Getty Images An illustration of the store in the early 1900s. Bettman/Getty Images

According to a disposition portfolio compiled with B. Riley Real Estate and Cushman & Wakefield, JCPenney has listed 24 properties and 142 leases for sale across 15 states. JCPenney has yet to find a buyer, leaving its fate and that of its brick-and-mortar stores up in the air.

The 8,000 square-foot flagship Kemmerer location — located approximately 100 miles northwest of Salt Lake City — is known as the "mother store" for the chain, according to the property highlights pamphlet available online. The town is home to just under 4,000 residents and is where Penney first got his start in 1902.

The deadline for potential buyers to bid on JCPenney's properties is September 9. An auction will be conducted on September 14 and September 15, the auction portfolio states. 

 
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