SOMERVILLE — Long-time customers of the Christmas Tree Shops brace for saying goodbye to their beloved home décor store as the chain.
While bankruptcy lenders want closing sales to start on July 7, customers and stores, like the one in Natick, remain hopeful.
"I came here with my mother, and they were like 'We aren't closing yet! Not sure yet,'" said Natick customer Karen Basili. "I always used to call it my happy place. I don't know what else to say. I am going to miss it. I can't believe how many stores are closing."
Many shoppers said they value the in-person shopping experience, noting the benefit of being able to see a product at a store rather than ordering it online.
"I like to touch the stuff so I can know if it's good or not good," said shopper Denise Sabino.
The Christmas Tree Shops began in Cape Cod 50 years ago as a home décor company. The retail chain has stores across Massachusetts and in 19 other states.
The move to begin closing began after a judge ordered funding for the "likely liquidation process," of the chain last week, provided no buyer is secured.
"The creditors basically said you gave it a shot, it didn't work, now we want our money," said Christopher Knittel, an economist at MIT. "Add the pandemic, and the growth of Amazon, and a lot of these retail shops, the brick-and-mortar ones, are having a tough time."
Though a last-minute investor could save Christmas Tree Shops, they would assume the company's debt, as well as all of their properties.
"Typically, in situations like this, the potential buyers are asking what sort of name recognition, or what specific real estate does the company owns," said Knittel.
Two locations, in Sagamore and Falmouth, have already closed.
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