End of an era: Bon-Ton, Boston Stores to liquidate

A federal bankruptcy court accepted the sale of Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s inventory and assets to two liquidation groups, Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group. The approval likely puts the nail in the coffin for Bon-Ton’s department stores, including Boston Store, Younkers, Herberger’s, and others.

A day earlier, Bon-Ton accepted the offer to liquidate from the two firms, meaning the company will close all of its 260 retail stores across 24 states. In Wisconsin, the 13 remaining Bon-Ton stores will be closed, ending the jobs of more than 2,225 people.

Hopes that an investor group would keep the stores open surfaced on April 9, but two days later a bankruptcy judge denied a request to give the group a $500,000 work fee to conduct due diligence prior to Bon-Ton’s court-supervised auction on April 16, and the group pulled out of the bidding.

The only remaining bids were from liquidation firms. 

In Madison, the East and West Towne stores employ just over 215 workers, and in Janesville, another 74, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report. About 715 people work at Bon-Ton’s Milwaukee headquarters. 

Sadly, the Boston Store brand has existed in the Milwaukee area since 1897. Bon-Ton entered Wisconsin when it purchased Saks Inc. Northern Group in 2006, of which Boston Store was a part. Reportedly, Bon-Ton hadn’t posted a profit since 2010.