Finish Line finished at Northland Mall

December 21, 2018

STERLING – Another Northland Mall store has reached the end of the line.

Indianapolis, Indiana-based athletic shoe and apparel retailer Finish Line, which is under new ownership, is packing up its local shop: Monday, Christmas Eve, will be its last day at the ailing mall at 2900 E. Lincolnway.

Finish Line, which has been at Northland about two decades, did not post signs or otherwise announce its closure, and is not holding any related sale.

The inventory is being shipped to other Finish Line outlets, manager Sam Willson said Friday. Returns and exchanges will be accepted until the end of the day Monday when, because of the holiday, the mall will close at 5 p.m.

The store has three full-time and four part-time employees, said Willson, who learned of the closure earlier this week.

Its departure will leave only 14 businesses at the site, plus the mall office.

Finish Line was bought in June by Manchester, England-based sportswear and apparel chain JD Sports, Britain’s largest, for $558 million.

The company, which until the acquisition had no stores in the U.S., is in the process of testing the results of converting some stores to its brand, which sells significantly more apparel than Finish Line, which primarily sells shoes.

The Finish Line in the Quincy Mall also is closing Monday. The nearest Finish Line locations to the Sauk Valley now will be Peru, Rockford and Davenport, Iowa.

Bergner’s, one of the mall’s longtime anchor stores, closed Aug. 26 after its parent company, The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., filed for bankruptcy in February and closed all its stores, which include Carson’s, Younker’s, Boston Store, Herberger’s and Elder-Beerman.

The east-end anchor, J.C. Penney, closed in July 2017 as part of the company’s nationwide downsizing plan. It was one of the original stores when the mall opened in July 1973.

The biggest retailer now is Dunham’s Sports, which opened Oct. 31, 2014, but closed in late June 2015 for 13 months while damage caused by a storm with winds that ripped off the roof, causing the store’s back wall to collapse, was repaired. Planet Fitness is the next-largest site.

Namdar Realty Group, a privately owned commercial real estate investment and management firm based in Great Neck, New York, bought the mall a year ago today from Denver-based J. Herzog & Sons.

Herzog had planned to subdivide Penney’s space into three smaller sites, and add 20,000 square feet, in the hopes of attracting more tenants, retailers or otherwise.

That work has not begun, and Namdar did not return calls Friday seeking an update on those plans. The company also has not updated the city on its plans for the space, said Amanda Schmidt, Sterling’s building and zoning superintendent.

The remaining businesses are Dunham’s, Planet Fitness, GNC, Shoe Sensation, Claire’s, Nails, Bath & Body Works, clothing stores Christopher & Banks, Maurice’s, Glik’s, and Rue 21, Bushel Basket Candle Co., Kopper Kitchen restaurant and a Kunes Country Auto sales office.

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