SAN FERNANDO (CBSLA.com) — City officials and community members held a news conference Monday morning protesting the closure of a local J.C. Penney store.
The store, located at 1140 San Fernando Road, closed its doors Saturday despite its current consideration as a historic site.
San Fernando residents rallied against the closure of the department store and cut up their J.C. Penney credit cards in protest.
“We’re here to buy . . . we don’t need to go out to somewhere else. We would rather spend our dollars here in the city of San Fernando and help the local economy,” said Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Lopez.
J.C. Penney has not specified why the store closed, but did say nationwide sales dropped by 20 percent in the past year.
“We would not have moved forward with this difficult decision if we did not believe it was absolutely necessary for the future growth of this company,” J.C. Penney said in regards to Saturday’s store closure.
Around 11 p.m. Sunday, community members say J.C. Penney tried to illegally remove the store’s signage despite failing to obtain proper city permits.
“This is an example of how poorly J.C. Penney has treated this community, J.C. Penney was aware that the building is being considered as a history site,” said resident Julian Ruelas.
“Its one thing for them to come and go through the process, it’s another for them to come in the middle of the night and just steal them away. . . . They’re stealing the signs, they’re stealing the history, they’re stealing our community,” said the building’s owner Martha Diaz Aszkenazy.
A hearing for the store’s historic status is scheduled for August. J.C. Penney has had a store open in San Fernando since 1920.
Attempts to contact J.C. Penney about the signage were unsuccessful.