Downtown Farmington will lose an anchor with Dressbarn closing

The Downtown Farmington Center on Grand River in Farmington will lose a major anchor with Monday’s announcement that Dressbarn will shutter all of its 650 locations.

The women’s clothing retailer anchors a strip center at the corner of Grove Street in Grand River, in place for more than 30 years. A new mall owner in 2013 remodeled the storefront; the interior got a refresh as well.

Dress Barn

In a statement published by businesswire.com, Steven Taylor, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, said the chain of women’s clothing stores “has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment.”

Stores and the company’s website will remain open during what Taylor called the “wind down process.” Customers can still use their Dress Barn credit cards, refund and return policies have not changed, and Taylor promised even better deals on merchandise before the last store closes.

The company has also promised to support its 6,800 employees.

Farmington’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Director Kate Knight said while she knew the company had experienced “the same pains as other retail chains,” the local closure “has taken us all by surprise.”

”Downtown Farmington has always been one of their stronger stores,” she said. “They’ve been a great partner.”

Knight said the DDA will use its connections to help the building owner find a new tenant, including access to a retail consulting specialist through Main Street Oakland County.

“It is not typical to have a footprint that large, previously held by a large retailer, become available,” she said. “I think it presents a great opportunity for someone, even a national tenant.”

Farmington Voice Facebook fans had no shortage of ideas for the space, ranging from national chains like Walmart and Trader Joe’s, to restaurants with diverse types of food.

“How about a Catherine’s or Avenue, we need to keep a WOMANS store in Farmington. It’s nice to just drive a mile for cute stuff in a bind or for a little retail therapy,” Marcie Woodard wrote.

Jennifer Chinn suggested a “food hall (restaurant incubator?) with non-chain places. Burgers, tacos, wood grilled pizza, the juice bar mentioned above. Order at various counters and community seating. Or head out to the pavilion. Not sure the space is big enough, but I can dream.”