Benny's will close all 31 stores by the end of the year

Benny's will close all 31 stores by the end of the year

Benny’s stores, a family-owned fixture in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Southeastern Massachusetts retailing for 93 years, will cease operations at all locations by the end of 2017, the company announced Friday.

Citing the desire of the Bromberg family ownership to retire from the operation of the retail chain, the company will begin winding down operations at their 31 locations and distribution center effective immediately. The goal is to complete the process by the calendar year.

The decision to cease operations along with the retirements of the current owners "was strongly influenced by the changing face of retailing today and the dominance of online retailers like Amazon and others, threatening the ability for Benny’s to remain financially viable in the future," states a release.

The disposition of the company’s real estate holdings – Benny’s owns the land and structures for nearly all of the store locations throughout the region – is still being determined. The company has been fielding offers on those real estate holdings and any relevant developments will be announced at the appropriate time.

Unfortunately, said company officials, this closure will impact the company’s 715 employees, of which 386 are full-time and 329 are part-time employees.

“As proud owners of Benny’s this is an emotional time for us,” said Arnold Bromberg. “Benny’s has been something the Bromberg family has invested enormous amounts of capital, time and energy in for nearly a century in this region. We take great pride in what our retail stores have meant to our employees and many loyal customers for so long. But it is simply time. Our current ownership is all at the age where we would like to retire from the business and spend more time with our families, and we have collectively judged that the always competitive retail landscape has shifted in a way that makes it almost impossible for small, family-owned chains like ours to reasonably compete moving forward.

"We’ll miss our employees, who have been such a big part of what has made Benny’s successful for so many decades," he added. "So many of them are well-known to our customers and are literally part of the Benny’s DNA."

Bromberg said it is "vitally important" that the company closes down in the right way.

“We intend to wind down the business in an orderly, structured way, at the same time focusing our efforts on the most responsible way to dispose of the real estate we own with an eye toward future use," he said. "It is also important to all of us that our community knows that this is a calculated business decision based on our knowledge of the retail industry and where it is going in the future. That future is not so bright for small, family-owned chains like ours. We’ve lived and breathed this way of doing business for a long time, but we could not, in good conscience, leave the business to the next generation of our family when these market conditions would so clearly conspire to work against them."

“We feel that Benny’s has become part of what makes our small corner of the world so special," said Bromberg. "We’ll miss our loyal customers and our employees – friends and neighbors – generations of whom have shopped our stores for the past 93 years and have referred to Benny’s as ’my favorite store’. As we wind down this business we want to do our best to ensure that our mark on local retail history will be as positive and lasting as possible."