Bob’s Stores Announce Closures

( – A familiar name is about to vanish from retail centers in the northeastern US. Bob’s Stores has just announced that it’s closing all its locations. The company declared bankruptcy last month, the latest in a string of financial problems that have plagued it for the last 20 years.

Robert Lapidus opened his first store in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1954. Bob’s Surplus sold workwear and ex-military gear and put practicality before fashion, It worked, and soon Lapidus started opening new locations and changed the name to Bob’s Stores. By 1996 the chain had 34 stores across the northeast.

However, it went bankrupt in 2003 and was almost bought by Dick’s Sporting Goods, which planned to acquire it and then shut it down. It was saved by TJX Companies, which fought Dick’s in court to save the company, but that began a rocky period for Bob’s and it was resold several times over the next few years. It went bankrupt again in 2016 and 2017 but found a new buyer each time. Now it seems to have run out of road at last.

On June 18, Bob’s Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s now gone into liquidation, and all its 21 surviving locations have launched going-out-of-business sales. The stores will close on July 14, bringing the brand to an end.

A press release from its current owners, GoDigital Media Group, said the reason for the closure was a shortage of funds. Why didn’t GoDigital bail it out? It could be that they’re short of cash themselves because another of their clothing retail brands, Eastern Outfitters, declared bankruptcy at the same time as Bob’s.

Bob’s Stores president Dave Barton released his own statement, lamenting the loss of the brand. Barton said he regretted the liquidation and praised the company for having “been a stalwart of our local communities for nearly 70 years.”

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