By Kathianne Boniello
Northeast Queens shoppers expressed dismay over the loss of the Sterns Department Store in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center this week after the chains owner announced it would convert its two Queens locations to Macys later this year.
Federated Department Stores Inc. operates more than 400 retail stores in 33 states and includes department stores such as Sterns, Macys and Bloomingdales. The company said it was converting the Sterns chain to maximize profits but was closing four of the stores Long Island locations, including the outlet in the popular Roosevelt Field Mall.
Sterns two Queens locations in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center and on Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing were slated to be transformed into Macys, its sister chain, sometime this summer, said parent company Federated Department Stores Inc.
Shoppers in Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center were unhappy about Sterns exit and the coming Macys.
Im upset to hear about it actually, said Helen Moutopoulos, who lives in Flushing but said she comes to the Douglaston Sterns because it is more convenient. I find everything I need here.
Seth Greenberger of Bayside said he has lived and shopped in the area for nearly 40 years.
Nothing seems to flourish in this store, he said, referring to the shopping centers location at the intersection of Douglaston Parkway and the Long Island Expressway. I remember this store when it used to be Corvettes. Its going to be missed.
The decision to close the Sterns chain was done to improve cash flow and return on investment, said James Zimmerman, chairman and chief executive officer of Federated.
Although this is a move we believe will benefit the most people over time, it still was not an easy decision to reach, Zimmerman said in a statement. Converting Sterns to the Macys name was expected to cost between $130 million and $150 million and put about 2,600 Sterns employees in the region out of work.
One woman who gave her name only as Drora said she had been shopping at the Douglaston Sterns for about 15 or 20 years and did not relish the idea of a Macys taking over the space.
I love this store, she said. Im not crazy about Macys.
Outside Sterns Flushing store, shoppers gave mixed reactions to the coming change.
The quality at Macys is better, but Sterns has the better price, said Marianne Klein of Astoria.
One Jackson Heights resident who identified herself as Mrs. Schilero declared her adoration of Sterns.
I like Sterns very much, she said. I dont like how Macys is.
<i> Reporter Chris Fuchs contributed to this story.</i>
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community News Group
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