Shoppers shocked at Wards decision to shut down

December 29, 2000

Shoppers shocked at Wards decision to shut down

By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

News that Montgomery Ward is shutting down surprised many shoppers in Hagerstown's Valley Mall, where the department store opened with the mall about 25 years ago.


"It's a big surprise," said Brigitte Horton, 35, of Hagerstown.

"They have good quality appliances and nice sales. ... There's never a time I go in there and don't come out with a bag," said Horton, who bought sweat pants at Wards Thursday.

"It's very surprising," said Beverly Garland, 56, of Mercersburg, Pa.

"I like Wards. I've always been satisfied with Wards merchandise," said Garland, minutes after buying a sweater at the Hagerstown store.

"It's one of your better department stores. ... That's sad, there's such a variety of things," she said.

"And reasonable prices," added her daughter, Angie Garland, 24.

Angie Garland said the news also means a friend of hers is probably out of a job.


The Hagerstown Wards has about 110 full- and part-time employees, according to store General Manager Ron Williams.

Williams refused to comment Thursday on the news of the shutdown.

Employees at Wards either refused or were prohibited from talking to the media Thursday afternoon.

"Wow," said Mary Bock, an optician at nearby Allegany Optical.

"I'll be sad to see it go," Bock said.

Robert Rinehart, 42, of Hagerstown, said the news surprised him, "but with all the new shops opening up I could see how it could happen."

Rinehart said stores such as Hecht's and Target probably took business from Wards.

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