Retail closures in Lafayette have customers frustrated

There are currently four empty spaces at the Pavilions strip mall in Lafayette. The closure of Dress Barn could make that five.

Posted: May 22, 2019 6:48 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Dress Barn announced it will close all 650 locations. However, the company has yet to say when. The owner said it wants to concentrate on more profitable brands like Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant. News 18 talked to Dress Barn shoppers in Lafayette who are not happy about the decision.

"I look in my neighborhood and UPS comes through every day with Amazon," said Rhonda Culbertson. She doesn't like to shop for clothes online like most of the people she knows. 

"I'm trying to find a white shirt to go with this," explained Culbertson, as she showed News 18's Kayla Sullivan what she planned to purchase at Dress Barn Wednesday. It's her favorite store in Lafayette.

"I'm not a shopaholic by any means," Culbertson said with a chuckle. 

However, she is trying to shop at Dress Barn while she still can. The store announced it will close earlier this week.

"Very sad, because what am I going to do now? Where am I going to go?" asked Culbertson. 

"There's not a lot of available shopping for people that are in their 30s or 40s," added another Dress Barn customer, Brandy Aschbrenner. She said her favorite children stores also shut down recently.

"Crazy eights and Gymboree just closed," said Aschbrenner. "And now Dress Barn is closing and those are the stores we frequent."

If Dress Barn closes, this would mark the fifth empty space at the Pavilions in Lafayette. The Gander Mountain location has been closed since 2017 but Burlington Coat Factory is scheduled to open there in October. 

Culbertson and Aschbrenner think these retail closings are due to more online shopping. However, Lafayette Economic Development Director Dennis Carson said there's hope for the future.

"There's been recent studies showing that the new generation coming up here is actually trending back to brick and mortar stores," said Carson. 

The city is growing rapidly so Carson is confident this area will be okay.

"I don't think it will be long before it is filled up," said Carson. 

Regulars want Dress Barn replaced with a similar clothing store with the same employees. 

"I love the people that work here, you know? I've known them for years I come in and they go, what are you buying today?" said Culbertson. 

She hopes employees get answers soon. They still don't know when this location will close.

"She (the employee) was almost in tears," explained Culbertson. "I said, what are you going to do? She said, I don't know."

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