(Esmond, RI) –
Benny’s stores, for 93 years a unique family-owned fixture in Rhode Island,
Connecticut and Southeastern Massachusetts retailing, will cease operations at
all locations, effective at the close of 2017, the company announced today.
Citing the desire of the Bromberg family ownership to retire
from the operation of the retail chain, the company will begin winding down
operations at their 31 locations and distribution center effective immediately.
The goal is to complete this process by the end of the 2017 calendar year. The
decision to cease operations along with the retirements of the current owners
was strongly influenced by the changing face of retailing today and the
dominance of online retailers like Amazon and others, threatening the ability
for Benny’s to remain financially viable in the future.
The disposition of the company’s real estate holdings –
Benny’s owns the land and structures for nearly all of the store locations
throughout the region – is still being determined. The company has been
fielding offers on those real estate holdings and any relevant developments
will be announced at the appropriate time.
Unfortunately, this closure will impact the company’s 715
employees, of which 386 are full-time and 329 are part-time employees.
“As proud owners of Benny’s this is an emotional time for
us,” said Arnold Bromberg. “Benny’s has been something the Bromberg family has
invested enormous amounts of capital, time and energy in for nearly a century
in this region. We take great pride in what our retail stores have meant to our
employees and many loyal customers for so long. But it is simply time. Our
current ownership is all at the age where we would like to retire from the
business and spend more time with our families, and we have collectively judged
that the always competitive retail landscape has shifted in a way that makes it
almost impossible for small, family-owned chains like ours to reasonably
compete moving forward.
We’ll miss our employees, who have been such a big part of
what has made Benny’s successful for so many decades. So many of them are
well-known to our customers and are literally part of the Benny’s DNA,” said
“It is vitally important to us that we perform this closure
the ‘right way,’” said Bromberg. “We intend
to wind down the business in an orderly, structured way, at the same time
focusing our efforts on the most responsible way to dispose of the real estate
we own with an eye toward future use. It is also important to all of us that
our community knows that this is a calculated business decision based on our
knowledge of the retail industry and where it is going in the future. That
future is not so bright for small, family-owned chains like ours. We’ve lived
and breathed this way of doing business for a long time, but we could not, in
good conscience, leave the business to the next generation of our family when
these market conditions would so clearly conspire to work against them,” said
The closure of Benny’s marks another illustration of how challenging
it has become for retailers to compete in the current retail climate. According
to Fung Global Retail & Technology, they are projecting 9,452 store
closings in 2017, up 53 percent from the number of doors that went dark amidst
the Great Recession in 2008. The Fung analysis cites the rise of e-commerce,
the habit of Millennials to spend more on experiences and less on goods and
services, and tougher retail competition all around as reasons fueling the
“We feel that Benny’s has become part of what makes our
small corner of the world so special.
We’ll miss our loyal customers and our employees – friends and neighbors
– generations of whom have shopped our stores for the past 93 years and have referred
to Benny’s as ’my favorite store’. As we
wind down this business we want to do our best to ensure that our mark on local
retail history will be as positive and lasting as possible,” Bromberg