Marshalltown among many communities saying farewell to Younkers

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Younkers served its final customer at the Marshalltown Mall on Aug. 26. After months of speculation as to the financial health of its parent company, Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., in April 2018 the corporation announced it was going out of business. The store first began as Brintnalls, before being bought out in 1948 by Younkers. It relocated from the downtown to the mall in the 1970s. Here employees pose for one final group photo.

Younkers served its final customer at the Marshalltown Mall on Aug. 26.

After months of speculation as to the financial health of its parent company, Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., in April 2018 the corporation announced it was going out of business with liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group being the highest bidders for the company’s assets, at $775.5 million.

In a April 19 press release, Bon-Ton formally announced its intentions, saying the liquidation sales were expected to run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. All stores were to close by Aug. 31, according to the bankruptcy filing.

“The last four months has been an emotional roller-coaster for us employees, past and present, as we continued to liquidate the store,” employee Polly Sokol said. “Through tears and laughter the final pieces and merchandise were sold.”

Bon-Ton, headquartered in York, Pa. and Milwaukee, Wis. operated 250 stores under Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers names.

Younkers was founded in Keokuk in 1856 as the Younker and Brothers Dry Goods Store. Bon-Ton purchased the Younkers chain in 2006.

Younkers in Marshalltown began its journey in the late 1800s. F.R. Benedict and Elias Lee were partners in a store located at 10 E. Main St. in Marshalltown. Herbert Grant (H.G.) Brintnall became their partner in 1901 and the store was renamed Benedict & Brintnall. It then relocated to 13-15 W. Main St. In 1919, W.L. Brintnall purchased Benedict’s interest in the business and the store became known as Brintnall & Brintnall. Brother Ken Brintnall joined as a partner in 1930.

The store was known for its selection of women and children’s clothing, shoes, millinery (hats) and general dry goods. It also had a bargain basement. Lee Brintnall, Ken’s son, worked for the store from 1940-46. In 1948, Younkers purchased Brintnalls, along with several other Iowa-based departments stores.

The downtown store was closed and moved out to its final location at the Marshalltown Mall in the 1970s.

McGregors Furniture, which sustained damage in the tornado, announced earlier this month its plans to temporarily relocate to the mall storefront vacated by Younkers. It will move in on Saturday.

———-

Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com