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Despite Loan Offer, Ward to Close Store in Lynwood

February 09, 1986

LYNWOOD — Negotiations between the City Council and officials of Montgomery Ward to keep the company's store here open has ended and the store will close as planned.

"As far as we are concerned discussions have ended and the store will close," Mayor Robert Henning said in an interview last week.

Henning's statement was confirmed by a spokesman for the retail chain.

"No arrangement was able to be worked out," said Charles H. Thorne, media relations manager for Montgomery Ward in Chicago.

The store was scheduled to close March 15, Thorne said.

The city had offered to provide the Chicago-based retailer with a $700,000 loan to help keep the 12-year-old outlet open, Henning said.

3-Year Guarantee Sought

However, Henning said, the offer had been rejected by Ward when the city insisted that Ward guarantee it would remain open for at least three years.

"Ward did not want to commit to three years, even though we said we would provide assistance during those three years. That was not acceptable to us," Henning said.

City Manager Charles Gomez said that, during a special City Council meeting Monday, he was instructed "to negotiate no further."

In a Jan. 22 letter from Ward to Henning, it was stated that "after careful consideration we have determined that the City's proposal does not contain that basic requirements which would allow us to reverse our decision to close the store."

The letter was signed by Bill Herrmann, Montgomery Ward's territory vice president, who is based in Rosemead.

On Jan. 2, Ward had announced it would close the store for economic reasons. Two weeks later, Henning and other city officials said they had convinced Ward to stay open. City officials had said it was important for the store to stay because it was the city's largest retailer.

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