Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
After nearly 20 years in Franklin, Peebles Department Store will be closing their doors sometime next year. The windows of the business are plastered with “Mega Sale” signs boasting 40 percent storewide discounts and everything inside the department is marked to sell. Associates with Peebles say that they don’t officially have a closing date, but anticipate it being at the beginning of summer 2020.
Although Peebles, which has operated in Franklin for 17 years, will be closing their doors, the building it occupies won’t become just another empty store. The store will re-open as a Gordmans which is owned by Stage Stores, the same company that owns Peebles.
Gordmans is described as an “off-price retailer,” offering name brand apparel, home decor, footwear, gifts, accessories and fragrances, similar to Peebles’ merchandise, but at lower prices than department stores.
Stage Stores said it has been converting a number of its Peebles locations to the Gordmans banner because consumers have responded positively to off-price offerings at Gordmans.
“Gordmans is an off-price retailer, which means that it has a wide array of merchandise for the entire family at the lowest possible prices compared to department stores,” said Blakeley Graham, manager of brand publicity at Stage Stores.
Stage Stores announced plans last month to convert an additional 100 stores to the Gordmans brand in 2020, bringing the total number of conversions next year to 250.
The company expects to convert 89 Peebles stores to Gordmans this year, already transitioning 37 stores in March and 35 stores in June and plans to redo 17 locations in September.
In addition to the Franklin location, the Peebles located on Main Street in Sylva is also going to be part of the transition process. According to Stage Stores, all Peebles employees will be offered jobs with Gordmans once the conversion process is complete.
The sales are expected to last until the Spring, when Peebles will close its doors for a two-week period while they complete the transition.
Peebles was founded in 1891 by William Smith Peebles, who opened his first store in Lawrenceville, Va.
The family sold the company in 1986 for $85 million to two investment banking firms and to Peebles’ senior management. It had been sold twice before Stage Stores acquired Peebles in 2003. At the time, Peebles had more than 125 stores primarily in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern and Midwest states.
Stage Stores operates 645 stores under the names of Stage, Bealls, Goody’s, Peebles and Palais Royal in 42 states and 141 Gordmans stores primarily in Midwestern states.