Photo by Joe Boyle
The parking lot is empty for now at the Carson’s location at the new outdoor shopping mall in Evergreen Park. However, DirectBuy plans to reopen the store and operate it part of the week as a brick-and-mortar operation and the other half for online sales.
By Joe Boyle
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton had been reviewing options with the developers of the new outdoor Plaza after the departure of Carson’s at the end of August.
But a phone call and a meeting with a representative of DirectBuy last Thursday morning made those discussions unnecessary.
A new tenant will be occupying the 120,470 square feet of the Carson’s location at 9700 S. Western Ave., according to Sexton, and it will be sooner than later.
The new tenant to replace Carson’s will be… Carson’s.
“They are very anxious to open the store,” Sexton said on Friday. It’s a combination of a brick-and-mortar store and online sales. It’s a new generation kind of thing.”
The reborn Carson’s will be run by DirectBuy, of Merrillville, Ind. DirectBuy is a CSC Generation company that describes itself as a savings cub for members, offering discounted prices on items ranging from home and lifestyle products.
Stefany Williams-Cunningham, associate general counsel for DirectBuy, met with Sexton personally to inform him of the decision by parent company CSC Generation to revive the Carson’s name with a few changes.
“They are going to keep the Carson’s brands that do real well,” Sexton said. “They are also planning to sell their DirectBuy brands. My understanding is that they are going to use the first floor to start. They want to get started there first.”
The mayor said that the officials with DirectBuy “seem to be very excited” about opening their version of Carson’s at the new outdoor Plaza. The new Carson’s store is scheduled to be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Sunday. Online sales will be available through the store from Monday through Wednesday.
The proposed transaction will be predicated on approval by the Evergreen Park Village Board on Monday, Oct. 15.
If the board approves the deal, Sexton was asked how long it would take before DirectBuy would begin operating the store?
“After talking to them, they will open before Christmas. They could get started before Thanksgiving,” Sexton said.
It has been a whirlwind year for Sexton and the Michigan-based Lormax Stern Development Company, owners and developers for the new Plaza. While Carson’s had been profitable and was deemed the anchor of the new mall when it opened in September 2016, Bon-Ton Stores, which owned Carson and other retail stores, filed for bankruptcy in February.
Sexton was under the impression that since Carson’s was turning a profit, another company would not be difficult to find. However, no one stepped forward to purchase the stores from Bon-Ton and they ended up in bankruptcy court. Sexton and the developers were stunned to learn that Carson’s would close at the end of August.
The mayor and Lormax officials began to hold discussions on drawing businesses to lease the Carson’s property. A week after Carson’s closed, Sexton was informed that CSC Generation, led by California native Justin Yoshimura, 28, had purchased Bon-Ton’s intellectual property from a Delaware bankruptcy court.
Yoshimura, who also runs DirectBuy, said in emailed statements that Carson’s could become profitable again by eliminating expensive leases. Sexton was aware that the Carson’s logo was appearing on the CSC Generation’s website and also DirectBuy. But Sexton was not sure what this meant for the recently closed Carson’s.
That is until he received the call from DirectBuy officials.
“I told them it would be a good idea to get started as soon as possible to stock the shelves,” Sexton said. “They are anxious to go.”
While DirectBuy is eager to get started in Evergreen Park, they have not addressed the status of the shuttered Carson’s at the Chicago Ridge Mall, which also closed at the end of August. Yoshimura had no further comments after emailed requests about the future of the closed Carson’s at the Orland Square Mall, which he had indicated some interest in the property.