Clipped From The Decatur Herald
DECATUR HERALD BRENDA SENSENIG, widow of Jay Sensenig, looks over a model of the proposed Berg- ner's store to be located in ' - Bergner's to Locate in Mall Mew St ByEarlMerkel P.A. Bergner & Co. will open a store in the planned Hickory Point Mall in Fprsyth next year that could ultimately employ from 250 to more than 500 persons, most of them hired locally. According to Thomas P. Lis-ton, board chairman and chief executive of the Bergner's chain, the new store will have a retail floor area of more than 120,000 square feet. "All but a handful of the people we hire will be from the Decatur area," Liston told a group of area officials and businessmen Wednesday. . "About 95 per cent of the store staff will be hired from this area." j Liston, speaking at a luncheon at the Country Club of Decatur held to formally an- Construction Could Begin In Two Months, Blitt Says The developer of the Hickory Point Mail in Forsyth said Wednesday that construction could begin within two months. Irwin Blitt, a partner in the Kansas development firm of Cophagen, White and Blitt, said that construction bids were received Tuesday from competing contractors. "We'll take about four or six weeks analyzing the bids before we make a bid award," he said. "After that, construction would start as soon as the contractor can get his equipment to the site maybe even the week after the award." Blitt said that the current target date for opening of the first stores at the mall is August, 1978. "That will include the (J.C.) the Hickory Point Mall, husband, as president of mercial Properties, Inc., ore to nounce the plans for the store, said that the Bergner company had waited nearly a decade for an opportunity to locate in the Decatur market area. "We've been working for 10 years for a vehicle to bring us into Decatur," Liston told the group. "And when Irwin Blitt approached us, I told him to count us in." Blitt is a partner in the Kansas firm of Cophagen, White & Blitt which is developing the Hickory Point Mall. The Decatur Bergner store will be the 17th store in the Penney store," he said, "which is planned to open Aug. 17." Opening of the Bergner's department store, which was formally announced Wednesday, is scheduled for October, 1978. "They'll be a little behind, because they're doing their own construction," Blitt said. Penney's store facilities will be built by the successful winner of the contracting award. Locsl Museum Suggestion Expected By Bruce F. Paulsen A recommendation is expected to be made today on how the Macon County Historical Society may receive $11,-600 in tax money levied on its behalf by the county board. Her been involved in the devel-Com- opment of the mall before his had death March 7. Bergner offi- Bergner-Weise chain in Illinois and Wisconsin and is part of a program to open two new stores each year for the next five years. "The store here will not be conventional," Liston said. "There's nothing like it in Pe-kin, Champaign, Chicago, St. Louis or anywhere else. "We're recognized as innovators in the department store field, and the Hickory Point Bergner's will be a whole new, concept in merchandising." That concept, he said, involves architectural features to direct the flow of customers through "open space" display and counter areas. "The effect is such that the merchandise appears to be in the open as does the entire store," he said. "There's easy access to all areas no 'blind alley' counters or display areas." Design features in the two-level store include glass-sided escalators and a glass elevator located in a see-through core in the center of the store. Liston said Bergner's "does not come into a community just to do business we intend to be good citizens.'" torical museum which may be owned or operated by that county." Wainscott wanted to know if the county board could appoint the historical society's directors and hire its administrator Staff photo by Bob Strongman cials announced their intentions to build a store in the mall Wednesday. ersons Immediate evidence of that attitude, he said, would come at the opening of the store. Congratulatory floral displays usually presented by local manufacturers are not accepted at Bergner openings, with the company instead recommending donations to a hospital fund. "We kind of put the muscle on local manufacturers to donate to the fund instead of flowers," Liston said. "Then we parcel out that money to local hospitals on a per-bed basis." Such gifts, he said, usually total between $15,000 and $18,-000. Along with standard department store wares, the Hickory Point Bergner's will-have a complete bridal service department, a travel bureau and a restaurant. The Bergner operation cur- rently owns 10 stores across Central Illinois, including ones in Peoria, Pekin, Bloomington, Peru, Galesburg and Champaign. Along with the Hickory Point store, a store in Quincy is also scheduled for opening in the fall of 1978. The company also owns seven Weise's department stores in Illinois and Wisconsin and is the state's largest retail store complex outside the Chicago area. of the opinion to Historical Society President Harold Wick-line. Wickline said he is organizing efforts to make proposed bylaw changes to allow the society to receive the money from the county.