Ready for business: Pictured are (left to right) Al Taubenberger, Marguerite Stanton and Daniel McElhatton.
About 75 people applauded and cheered when the new Burlington store at Castor and Cottman opened for business last Friday.
They streamed into the building that started out as Lit Brothers decades ago, then became a Clover and finally, and briefly, JCPenney before becoming a big hole in the Northeast’s commercial landscape more than 10 years ago.
JCPenney closed its store in 2003. The former occupants, Clover and Lits, were once well-known chains that no longer exist. Marguerite Stanton, the new Burlington store manager, is ready for a new chapter, but recalls very well when the big building was a Clover store.
“I was children’s department manager. It was my first job in retail,” she said, adding that she jumped at the opportunity to come back to one of the Northeast’s most iconic corners.
Al Taubenberger, president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, was impressed by the customers’ “stampede to get into the store.”
There’s a greater value, he said.
“This will be a catalyst to revitalize this neighborhood,” Taubenberger said.
Burlington’s immediate impact is jobs. One-hundred eight employees now man the store’s 50,000 square feet of retail space.
Local officeholders had pushed to see the site occupied again, and, in March, state Rep. John Sabatina announced that the property’s owner, Kimco, a Maryland developer, planned to house a separate business in each of the building’s three floors. Bob’s Furniture also is expected on the site.
Although a ribbon wasn’t cut until last Friday to officially open the store, there had been “soft openings” since Oct. 21, Stanton said. ••
For more information, visit www.BurlingtonStores.com.