BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Macy's is one of the largest retailers in the United States but it will no longer be in the state of Vermont. Macy's plans to shutter its store in Burlington in March as part of 100 closures across the country.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said that the city is focused on doing everything it can to help impacted workers transition to new jobs. Overall, it impacts 65 workers, but how it will affect Burlington's downtown is unknown.
"Oh my gosh, it's the cornerstone of the mall right now," said Martha Hunt from Monkton.
Macy's, the only department store in downtown Burlington, announced Wednesday it will close its doors in March of this year.
"I think that's going to be a big loss," Hunt said.
A big loss, for more than just Vermonters.
“We know from research we've done, it creates some demand from Canadians. We have southern Quebecers that come down specifically to go to the Macy's store, so it's definitely a loss," said Kelly Devine.
Devine is the executive director of the Burlington Business Association. She knows it's more than just business that is affected.
"It's also a very large building so to have it vacant is not ideal," she said.
Although the timing may be ideal with the current redevelopment plans for Burlington's Town Center.
"It does create an opportunity to maybe envision something new for the location," Devine said.
Folks we spoke with aren't sold on the new idea yet.
"It's kind of a shame because there's not a lot to draw us down here anymore because everything is closing, so, it’s pretty sad," said Sharon Mohn from Huntington.
"I'm kind of worried about the area, and I'm hoping that the plan for reconstruction down here is successful because right now, it’s not looking so good," said Hunt.
Devine says the outlook is far from grim; reports from the holiday season were strong from downtown retailers in Burlington. She hopes the trend continues.
"We need people even more now to come downtown patronize our local businesses and be a part of this vibrant community, that in a couple of years is going to look totally different which could be really exciting," Devine said.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Miro Weinberger said the mall redevelopment project will help fill the gap left by Macy's, "The downtown Burlington of the future, will be even more vibrant, equitable and full of opportunity than ever."