BLOOMINGTON— Debra Cruise had a shopping cart full of bargains she found Friday at the Bergner's store at Eastland Mall.
Much of the store's remaining assortment of national and private brand fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings merchandise has been marked down 70 percent.
But it won't last much longer.
The sale is expected to continue until all of the merchandise is liquidated, which is likely to happen sometime later this month, Daniel Kane, Tiger Capital Group LLC co-founder and managing partner, said Friday.
"The inventory will continue to be discounted until it is all gone," he said.
Despite the bargains Cruise found, they come at a "price" she didn't want to see.
"It comes at a high price in that the store is leaving. I'm very, very sad about that because this was one of the main stores that I shopped at," said Cruise, of Normal.
"They always had really good sales," she added. "This is where I bought all of my clothes. This is the main store I shopped at for the great nieces, the great nephews. It had great kids clothes."
In recent weeks, as prices continued to decline further, the parking lot around the store have filled as shoppers search for final bargains. While clothing apparel, shoes and purses remain in stock, linens, kitchen and other cooking items have been nearly depleted.
In addition to the merchandise that includes items brought in from other stores that also are closing, other items are for sale, such as all store fixtures that include original pieces of art, furniture, display cases, garden pots and vases that decorated the store.
California-based Tiger Capital is handling the inventory liquidation sales at Bergner's in Bloomington and 212 other stores owned by the bankrupt retailer Bon-Ton Stores Inc.
"There are some tremendous bargains, but I understand the sadness people feel seeing these big department stores go away," said Kane. "In some towns, these stores have been around for a long time and are like institutions."
In addition to Bergner's, Bon-Ton operated stores under the brand names of Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, Boston Store, Younkers and Bon-Ton.
Meanwhile, A & G Realty Property is disposing of Bon-Ton's real estate assets. The Melville, N.Y-based realty firm was hired by a joint venture between Great American Group LLC, Tiger Captial Group LLC and Bon-Ton's Second Lien Noteholders.
"We're still in the middle of trying to find someone to buy the (Bloomington Bergner's store) lease," said Andy Graiser, co-president of the realty company.
The joint venture acquired the bankrupt retailer's assets on April 18 after submitting the winning bid to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.