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Employees, customers won't give up on Butte's J.C. Penney

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 16 2014 09:41:37 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 10:04:16 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

J.C. Penney will shutter 33 stores nationwide and lay off some 2,000 people. It's part of an effort to save some $65 million. The Butte store employed 32 people, 12 of those full-time.

People we spoke to, from customers to employees, told us if they lose this store it will be a big loss to the community. Right now they're trying to find a way to change the company's mind.

"We really want to save our store," said J.C. Penney employee Kim Salmones.

Salmones has been working at J.C. Penney for over a year. She and her co-workers heard the news of the store closing Wednesday.

"It was a total shock," she said.

They are hoping a way to sway the company would be to get customers to fill out positive feedback forms.

"We are hoping the community will rally around us and will send in good surveys," said Salmones.

Kathy Jo Persons shops at J.C. Penney. She told us she was upset when she heard the news.

"It breaks my heart. Its just so sad, I was shocked, absolutely shocked," said Persons.

Persons told us Butte doesn't have enough stores and can't afford to lose another one. She plans on letting the company know that.

"So I'm going to do my part and I hope others do as well," she said.

NBC Montana spoke to other customers, and all shared the same feelings

"We're going to miss it very much," said Patrick Williams. "Going to miss it if it goes," said Sheila Kenny.

Employees and managers of the store, along with the Chamber of Commerce, are planning to petition for the store.

"We are going to get together and gather the facts and information and do a 'Save Our J.C. Penney' campaign," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marko Lucich.

Penney's says it's closing the store because it's struggling, but Lucich doesn't buy that argument and believes the store is probably doing well enough to remain open.

"We want employees to keep their jobs and we want Butte to grow," said Lucich.

Salmones assures us, "We wont go down without a fight, that's for sure."

There will be a planning meeting on how to save the J.C. Penney store Friday morning.