The Farmington Dressbarn, located at 33025 Grand River Ave., will begin to wind down operations after the national retail chain decided to close all 650 of its stores nationwide. The store is projected to close sometime between August and November.

The Farmington Dressbarn, located at 33025 Grand River Ave., will begin to wind down operations after the national retail chain decided to close all 650 of its stores nationwide. The store is projected to close sometime between August and November.

Photo by Jonathan Shead


Farmington discusses what might replace Dressbarn

Store to close amid national wind-down of the chain

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published June 3, 2019

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington Dressbarn retail store will be closing its doors before the end of the year after news broke that the national retailer, owned by parent company Ascena Retail, will be shutting down all 650 of its storefronts across the United States, affecting 63,000 employees nationwide.

The Farmington Dressbarn currently employs nine associates.

The decision came from a lack of profits seen recently by the retailer as it attempts to compete in today’s retail environment, which has seen a steady decrease in consumers visiting physical storefronts and instead opting to shop online.

“This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” Steven Taylor, the chief financial officer for Dressbarn, said in a press release.

While specific details are unknown on when the Farmington location will close its doors for good, Kate Knight, the executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority, said she’s been told the location’s last day could be anywhere from August to November.

“We have very limited information,” she said. “We know Dressbarn corporate doesn’t have a timeline they’ve shared, but certainly during this time our efforts to secure a new tenant are underway.”

Until then, Dressbarn will continue to run operations as normal, both at its physical storefronts and online.

Knight said that although the city is sad to see Dressbarn leave, she’s certain it won’t be long after its departure that the city will be able to find a new tenant for the store’s location.

“We know that it’s a great opportunity for the next retailer or business coming in. The space and building are in great condition, and it’s in a premier location. It’s a combination of qualifiers that aren’t readily available in a lot of true downtown areas,” Knight said. “To have a floor plan of that size, in that location, they don’t come available as often as you think.”

Knight said the storefront is an 11,000-square-foot space located downtown, across the street from Riley Park, which has increasingly been used as a town center for a variety of events and programming. It’s also adjacent to free parking and within walking distance to many other shops, which she believes make it an enticing location for potential new merchants.

Community members have already begun to make suggestions on Facebook, through their comments, on what business they’d like to see come to downtown Farmington next.

Suggestions have varied: another clothing retailer for men’s and women’s fashion, new bars or restaurants, a bookstore, a grocery store such as an Aldi or a Trader Joe’s, a home décor store like World Market, even a food court-style location that offers healthier, non-chain options, including a smoothie or raw juice bar.

For Farmington Hills resident Angie Little, 57, the only thing she doesn’t want to see is another big box chain move into the downtown area.

“As I’m getting older, I’m leaning more toward wanting to support independent businesses,” Little said. “They do have nice restaurants down there that are independently owned, and I love it. I want it to stay that way.

“I’m just looking for something that’s not stale, and where my money is being used to further a business, not just going to some CEO that doesn’t really care about you as a consumer,” she added.

Knight said the city welcomes public input, albeit through forums like workshops or town hall meetings, rather than Facebook comments alone, which the city doesn’t respond to. She said public suggestions will be combined and considered with urban planning efforts.

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