It’s the end of an era. Lord & Taylor is going out of business. 

The department store chain, the oldest in the United States – it was founded in New York City in 1826 – said Thursday that it would close all of its 38 remaining stores, including locations in Eastchester, Yonkers and Stamford, Connecticut. The retailer, which was acquired by fashion rental subscription service Le Tote in 2019, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 2 in a move that analysts viewed as a likely step toward liquidation. 

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Shoppers are pictured at the soon to be closed Lord & Taylor in Eastchester, Aug. 28, 2020. (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

Earlier this year, the Palisades Center Lord & Taylor location, an anchor store for the mall, closed its doors. 

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The Eastchester store was opened in 1947 as part of the retailer’s first wave of suburban “branch” stores, a revolutionary direction for department stores. When the flagship store, at the Lord & Taylor Building on Fifth Avenue closed in 2019, the Eastchester store became a de facto flagship and was noted as being one of the company’s most popular and profitable.  It was an anchor for the Vernon Hills Shopping Center according to Eastchester Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita. 

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Stephen Rodriguez and Carlton Rodriguez, 6, from Mount Vernon, place their shopping bag in their car, at the soon to be closed Lord & Taylor in Eastchester, Aug. 28, 2020. Says Rodriguez, “I’m disappointed after almost 200 years of being open, they’re closed. It’s a landmark store for me, for shopping.” (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

“At this point, as I understood it, (the Eastchester location) was their best Lord & Taylor location, better than the city, but we’re not surprised (about the closing) because of the popularity of online shopping and retailers,” Colavita said. “It’s unfortunate because the store’s representatives told me the location is the best one they have in the entirety of their stores. Unfortunately, times are changing and hopefully we’ll have a good use for the building come out of this closure.” 

On Friday, shoppers in Eastchester voiced sadness over the closing, with one Facebook poster calling it “the last civilized place on earth.” 

Stephen Rodriguez was at the store Friday, shopping with his son. “I’m disappointed after almost 200 years of being open, they’re closed,” said the Mount Vernon resident. “It’s a landmark store for me, for shopping.”

“Whenever I complained I couldn’t find anything to wear for a wedding, or so on, my cousin would say ‘did you check Lord & Taylor?'” said Yonkers resident Tiffany Keegan. “It’s tough to see any business closing but this one definitely did feel like a Westchester landmark.”

“I remember buying my sons their first suits at (Lord & Taylor),” said New Rochelle resident Carla Pasquali. “They had a great selection of clothes for all types of people. I really counted on their sales people for their guidance on what was on trend for young men at the time. I always seemed to catch their sales and benefited immensely from them.” 

Liquidation sales have already begun, offering 20% to 40% off on select merchandise. Sales are also available on the retailer’s website, 

“They always had a great shoe selection and exactly the kinds of clothes I needed, whether the outfit I was looking for was business, casual or a special occasion,” said New Rochelle resident Theresa Kump. “When it was time to shop for my daughter’s prom dress, (Lord & Taylor) was our only stop.” 

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Shoppers are pictured at the soon to be closed Lord & Taylor in Scarsdale, Aug. 28, 2020.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

Across social media, fans shared stories of summer jobs, exceptional service, wedding gowns purchased, and friendships forged  while working at Lord & Taylor.

“I will forever be grateful to the L&T female employee who helped me find a dress for my mom’s wake,” wrote one poster on the Lord & Taylor Facebook page. “I grew up in clothes from L&T. I can remember several Christmas mornings when every box under the tree had a red rose on it,” wrote another.

The holidays were a special time at Lord & Taylor, which was a pioneer of animated holiday windows, a tradition that continued until the closing of its Fifth Avenue flagship The department store also pioneered the concept of in-store dining, including full service restaurants in all its branches. The Eastchester store featured a restaurant on the third floor. Most, recently it was Sarabeth’s. 

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The exterior of the soon to be closed Lord & Taylor in Eastchester, Aug. 28, 2020. (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

Lord & Taylor had already announced plans to close 24 stores as part of its bankruptcy.

“While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the Company’s brands,” Ed Kremer, the company’s chief restructuring officer, said in a statement.

The remaining Lord & Taylor locations in the area are: 

  • Eastchester: 750 White Plains Road, Scarsdale
  • Yonkers: Ridge Hill, 157 Market St., Yonkers 
  • Paramus, NJ: 504 Garden State Plaza
  • Stamford, CT: 110 High Ridge Road
  • Danbury, CT: Danbury Fair Mall, 7 Backus Ave.

Lohud reporter Jeanne Muchnick and USA Today reporter Nathan Bomey contributed to this report. 

Heather Clark covers business openings and closings throughout Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. Keep up on the latest comings and goings by joining our Facebook group at What’s going there Westchester, Rockland, Putnam. Contact Clark via email, [email protected] 

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