Few things look so forlorn as the tail end of a going-out-of-business sale. And for the Macy's store in downtown St. Paul — its sales floors littered with mostly empty shelves, a few scattered racks of clothing and some area rugs — that time is now.
On Saturday the Wabasha Street department store closes its doors for good, bringing to an end decades of shopping at stores from Schuneman's to Dayton's, from Marshall Field's to (since 2006) Macy's.
As its swan song, the store is offering one last courtesy — at least to green-clad revelers.
"The store will close at 6 p.m., regardless if merchandise is sold out prior," said Andrea Schwartz, media relations vice president for Macy's North and Midwest region.
"It is very busy in St. Paul during the St. Patrick's Day parade, and historically many have used our facilities."
Macy's officials announced Jan. 2 that the store would close in March, leaving downtown St. Paul without a department store for the first time in a century.
It was one of six stores nationwide that Macy's decided to close this year for "no longer meet[ing] our performance standards."
Schwartz said that the nearby Wells Fargo Bank will keep the Cedar Street entrance and lobby open, providing access to the skyway escalator. The Macy's parking ramp also will stay in business.
But skyway access through the store will end, she said.
Most of the store's former employees who wanted to stay with Macy's have gotten jobs at other metro-area locations, amounting to a transfer of more than 50 workers, Schwartz said. About 150 people in all worked at the St. Paul store.
What will happen to the building itself — a brick-clad, five-story building opened in 1963 and measuring 362,000 square feet — remains unclear. Macy's is trying to sell it and is working with St. Paul to find a good use for it.
Mayor Chris Coleman has said he'd like to see it torn down and replaced with a Class A office building, with first- and second-floor amenities that tie in with downtown's bar and restaurant scene. But much will depend on the buyer.
Whatever happens, it seems all but certain that there will never again be a popover mixer on the premises. The kitchen machine that for years delighted thousands of diners in Macy's River Room with its puffy pastries sold for $2,000.