My family and I have a long history with JCPenney. We were regular shoppers and I guess you could call it OUR store. Whether it was the mall location or when it was downtown, it was OUR store.

I always have a problem remember which side of 2nd Street JCPenney was on when it was downtown. I've always remembered it on the north side of the street, closest to the river. But my sister and my mother have always told me that it was the south side, and I'm pretty safe deferring to them.

One of my favorite memories of JCPenney downtown was something I didn't remember at all. It was an experience my mother had with a clerk that she shared with me on a number of occasions.

When I was a toddler, Mom was at JCPenney and needed to go upstairs. (How many remember it being two-story when it was downtown?) But the store had no public elevator, only stairs. And the associate wasn't going to let her use the freight elevator. And they argued about it--politely, I'm sure--for a good while before Mom, in the nicest way possible (only assuming since I don't remember, but I DO remember how Mom handled situations like this), asked to speak to the manager who promptly showed her to the elevator, and then rode up with us. I don't know if he thought she needed a personal shopper or not, but she got one.

Jonathan Weedman/Facebook
Jonathan Weedman/Facebook

But, yeah, Penney's was always a huge part of our downtown Christmas shopping. And, later, it was my go-to for big and tall clothing. I have lamented before how difficult it is to find the extra tall sizes in Owensboro and with JCPenney gone, it has gotten that much harder.

And now it is completely closed. For good. Empty.

It truly IS the end of a retail era.

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