DeKALB – Two days before Christmas and the Hallmark Gold Crown store in DeKalb is bustling with customers, though it’s unclear whether the crowd of shoppers is due to the last-minute holiday scramble or a liquidation sale in anticipation of a February close.
“I just overheard the lady at the front desk saying they’re closing in February,” said a shopper perusing the aisles marked 40% off.
Steve Flage of Jeri’s Hallmark Stores, headquarted in Crystal Lake, announced last week that the DeKalb gift and greeting card store at 2445 Sycamore Road soon would be closing, citing what he called “unsuccessful lease renewal negotiations with the landlord.” As a result, everything must go, according to signs behind the cash register and the storefront.
Flage did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and store staff were unable to comment on the matter Monday.
Most items, including toys, puzzles, decor, mugs, blankets, trinkets and others are marked 40% off in the liquidation sale. Some holiday items, such as Christmas ornaments or greeting cards, are not on sale yet, however.
The shopping center also is home to Target, Maurice’s, Famous Footwear, VP Nails and more, although there already are vacated spaces. The space once used by the Barnes and Noble is still vacant, as is the old space inhabited by the Aldi discount grocery store before it moved to its new location across the street.
It's not the first time a Hallmark store has closed on Sycamore Road. In 2013, Caribou Coffee, Hallmark and Deals all were part of the shopping mall and closed within weeks of each other.
At the time, an assistant store manager for Deals, Nick Rebellato, said rent had been raised multiple times in recent years leading up to the 2013 close.
Jeri’s Hallmark Shop in DeKalb is one of eight Hallmark stores owned by the Flage family, including ones in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan, which are not expected to be affected and will remain open for business, the release said.
The company expects to expand into southeast Wisconsin in 2020, the release stated.
Steve and JerriDee Flage co-own their Hallmark store branches and issued a joint statement in the press release.
“The owners want to thank the customers and the community for its support over the past 6 years,” the statement reads. “And invite folks to come and enjoy some significant inventory discounts. Customers are invited to visit our other Illinois stores in Algonquin, Crystal Lake and Wheaton.