Newton County's sole department store is set to close with the recent announcement that Goody's Family Clothing will liquidate all of its remaining stores after a depressing holiday sales period.
Goody's has a location in Covington, in the Newton Plaza shopping center on U.S. Highway 278.
The discount clothing retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June of last year. The company emerged from bankruptcy in October after streamlining its operations by closing 69 underperforming locations in 18 states, including a location in neighboring Conyers.
A manager at the Covington Goody's confirmed that all Goody's locations would be closing and directed further requests for comment to Gary Yiatchos, corporate spokesman for Goody's who declined to give a comment for this story.
The Associated Press reported that the liquidation of all stores is expected to be complete by the end of March.
The closing of the Goody's Covington location will create a retail void for Newton County, which has no other department store options since the Belk store moved to Conyers.
"It is going to be a void to fill, there is no doubt about that," said Jim O'Bryan, manager of commercial/retail development for Georgia EMC.
Not only will shoppers lose their only department store shopping option in the county, but local government will also lose out on the sales tax dollars that Goody's brought in.
Because of the recession, there is a high likelihood that the Goody's retail space on U.S. Highway 278 will remain empty for some time.
O'Bryan said due to its location on a major county corridor, the Goody's space has a better chance of being filled than other empty retail spaces in the county.
"It really depends on the shopping center owner. How aggressive they get out and market the space," O'Bryan said. "It will be difficult during this time to fill that space. Everyone's licking their wounds over the losses that they suffered over the Christmas holiday season."
As the only department store in Newton County, the Covington Goody's had enjoyed much higher foot traffic than the Conyers location, which had many other retail stores to compete with.
Goody's employs 9,800 workers and operates 287 stores in 20 states in the Southeast and Midwest.