Two Metro Younkers Stores Not On List to Close But Former Employee Worries About Their Future

DES MOINES, Iowa--Connie Boesen spent much of her working life at the downtown Des Moines Younkers store. But since her career ended, she has watched one development after another concern her about the company's future. Tuesday brought the darkest sign yet.

"It's just sad to see a job where they've worked and loved to go to every day, maybe be gone," Boesen said as she stood in front of the former downtown location.

For years she worked as a buyer...sweaters, sportswear, toasters, mixers and many other items. Boesen would help decide which product lines the company should carry. "I grew up here from the time I was 18," she said.

But the company shifted the buying office to Wisconsin in 2003. She refused to leave Iowa. That meant the end of Boesen's 34-year career with the company.

Later, she watched the downtown store close altogether. Tuesday afternoon, as she reflected on the news that at least seven other Iowa locations would close, she fears the end of an era.

"It's not just Des Moines but it's happening all over the country," she said as some companies have failed to adapt after consumers turn more to on-line purchases, instead of traditional stores.

Boesen is paying close attention to the future of the Younkers store at Southridge Mall on Des Moines' south side. That wasn't on the list of closures from the Iowa Workforce Development. 

A company spokeswoman didn't return a call from Channel 13 seeking comment on the store's future there. A representative from Valley West Mall did and said the mall hadn't heard from Younkers' parent company about any decision to close the store.

Regardless, Boesen, who serves as a Des Moines Councilwoman, now feels an obligation to help the hundreds who know they are losing their jobs in June when stores are expected to close. "It's up to all, everybody who's involved with economic development, to figure out how we can get these stores full again and reused so it helps the economic base."