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Friday, November 28, 2008

Failed Effort…Bealls Will Close

Letter from owner Bob Beall ends hopes for change of mind.
"Tis better to have tried and failed, than to never have tried at all".
The wisdom of that idiom is about all we can garner from our effort on behalf of many, many desperate housewives in our area who are mourning the impending closure of Bealls Department Store in Marianna. The effort which was put forth last week did earn a serious reconsideration of the matter in the corporate offices of the organization, but in the end, the end is near.
After we printed our story about the emotional trauma the impending closure was having on numerous women in Jackson County, combined with a call from Ernie and Lydia Padgett who personally know the owner, Robert Beall, Bill Stanton, with the Jackson County Development Council also contacted Mr. Beall, offering community support to fill their needs. We are adding the e-mail correspondence that transpired late last week.
#1- Correspondence
From Bill Stanton to owner, Robert Beall:
Attention: Robert M. Beall II, Executive Chairman Bealls Inc.
Please read the separately forwarded November 13 issue of the Jackson County Times (front page above the fold lead article).

Our community, county and surrounding area of 68,000 people . . . truly are praying that your company will allow us to continue to "leave our homes with Bealls on".

We are requesting that you assign someone from your staff to explore the following options:
1. Keep your present Marianna store open for the first six months of 2009 (to allow time to consider other options).
2. Let us work with you on looking at a much larger new or existing building location (to expand your footprint up to 80,000 sq. ft.).
3. Look at co-locating with Publix and Walgreen’s in a proposed new regional shopping center to be constructed in Marianna to serve the 68,000 people who conduct the majority of their shopping here.
Please note that our County Commission Chairman, County Administrator, Marianna Mayor and City Manager have been copied on this e-mail. We are a united team who wants you here!
Lastly, Ernie Padgett was an elected County Commissioner here in the early 1980’s . . . and served as our first County Administrator (before moving on to Santa Rosa County and the 12 years you knew him in Manatee County). I’ve known and worked with Ernie for 25 years. He is back home and has joined our economic development team in pursuing this project.
Give us a chance . . . We’ll make you glad you did!
Bill Stanton Executive Director
Jackson County Development Council, Inc. (JCDC)
#2 – Response to Stanton from Mr. Beall:
In response to your communication, and to Lydia’s call, I have just met with our Real Estate Director to discuss the Marianna store. It is with real regret that I must say that the decision to close is the correct one, and we must take that action. I will not go into all the reasons for this decision, but please be assured that my review was thorough.
It is my hope that at some point in the future, perhaps when the market has grown a bit and when the economy has recovered, we can consider a new store that we could both be proud of in your beautiful community.
Best, Bob
Robert M. Beall, II Executive Chairman
Beall’s, Inc. Bradenton, FL 34206
#3 – Final response from Bill Stanton to
Mr. Beall:
On behalf of everyone in Marianna and Jackson County . . . thank you for considering our request to keep your Marianna store open.
Of course, we’re disappointed. However, we sincerely appreciate that you gave this matter your personal attention and took the time to revisit the issue with your Real Estate Director.
Meanwhile, we join you in looking forward to an "economy recovery" so that you and your team can then consider locating a new Beall’s store in Marianna.
Our united "Economic Development Team" (including those copied on this e-mail) stands ready to work with you in the future.
Again, thank you for your consideration and know that we look forward to your return . . . so that we may again "leave our homes with Beall’s on".
Respectfully . . . Bill Stanton

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