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The parent company of Gordmans has filed for bankruptcy citing the pandemic as an exacerbating factor in its financial difficulties.

Gordmans Files for Bankruptcy, Casualty of Pandemic

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Gordmans department store opened in February, closed a month later because of the pandemic and now may open only to liquidate. 
 
The discount retailer's parent company, Stage Stores, filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 10 with the intent to "wind down" its more than 600 outlets if necessary in part because of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus.
 
"This is a very difficult announcement and it was a decision that we reached only after exhausting every possible alternative," said Michael Glazer, Stage's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "Over the last several months, we had been taking significant steps to attempt to strengthen our financial position and find an independent path forward. 
 
"However, the increasingly challenging market environment was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to temporarily close all of our stores and furlough the vast majority of our associates. Given these conditions, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing and have no choice but to take these actions."
 
In the statement, the company said it will begin liquidation but will also try to sell the business or any of its assets. If a viable buyer comes forward, closure efforts will be suspended but if not, the liquidation will continue. 
 
Stage Stores has occupied the space in the former Kmart Plaza off Main Street since 2006 with the opening of a Peebles department store. Last year, the retailer began the switch to the Gordmans line, which was touted as something of a small-size T.J. Maxx. 
 
Outside of Walmart, the only other clothing store in the city is discount retailer Label Shopper in the same plaza. 
 
Gordmans opened on Feb. 18 with a wide range of clothing, shoes, jewelry, and home decor and goods. A few weeks later, its windows were vandalized and a local man was arrested on charges of causing thousands of dollars of damage in the downtown. 
 
The store hadn't even fixed its windows before it had shut its doors here on the governor's orders for non-essential concerns to halt operations in mid-March. 
 
Stage Stores operates more than 600 Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles and specialty stores in 42 states, along with the more than 150 Gordmans that have already been converted or opened.
 
The company announced a listing of 557 stores that will reopen on Friday; a second phase of 67 will open May 28 and the rest on June 4. 
 
Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to release more detailed plans on Monday of what businesses will be allowed to reopen and how that will happen. The North Adams store will likely not open until the May 28 or June 4 dates. 
 
Updated openings will be posted on the Gordmans website. The company said it will use "recommendations and industry best practices" to ensure the safety of employees and patrons. 
 
Gift cards and customer programs will be honored for 30 days after a store opens and no new cards will be issued. 

Tags: bankruptcy,   department store,   store closings,   

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In Cautious Song, Early Birds Proclaim Vernal Awakening

By Tor HanseniBerkshires columnist

Oh what a joy to see goldfinches in small feeding flocks dining on sunflower seeds provided in the porch feeders. It is time with a steel bristle brush to clear out last year's thistles and scrape away any rust clogging the tiny holes suited so well for their small bills.

What a treat to watch showy yellow and black males, their mottled feathers shifting to peak molt. Female goldfinches are overall more drab in softer hues of field grey-green but on the nest will be less obvious in camouflage. For several weeks ahead they wait until late spring to commence nest-building.

Their fleecy basket is woven securely in poplar trees with tight fibers to adjust for wind. Whether foraging on elm blossoms in the tall neighboring elm tree, or gleefully riding their parabolic flight path, their zesty songs are music to our ears.
 
As the prolonged cool of early spring on Mount Greylock delays the purple trillium bloom, guess who is a dapper chatterbox along a service road leading to solar grid installation? With new fallen snow still evident in the higher elevations in late April, these warblers are the first to greet me, soon to be followed by the full diversity of the 23 species, family Parulidae.
 
Calling a deliberate zizzizizzi-from sylvan edges of a wide clearing, a fleet burst of yellow and field marks of rufous in the head cap and bold red streaking on throat, breast, and belly is a male palm warbler (Dendroica palmarum). Watch for their constant tail wag. Eagerly they to flit and forage about mossy trunks and budding ground story, hopping and darting through fern and old decaying logs. These aerial acrobats cut deft sorties into the air to snag tiny flying insects stirring at last from winter's seclusion.
 
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