By Howard Monroe


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Arts and crafts retailer A.C. Moore announced Tuesday that it’s closing all of its stores, including the 20 stores closest to Center City. The company said it couldn’t keep up with the changing retail environment.

A.C. Moore is joining Payless ShoeSource, Gymboree and Dressbarn in stores that have closed in 2019. Customers say they aren’t happy to see the retailers shut down.

“I’m really sad. I come here a lot for everyday things,” shopper Allison Werner said.

Shock and awe was the atmosphere in South Philly as A.C. Moore says it’s closing for good.

“Cry. I don’t know what I’m going to do without A.C. Moore, honestly,” shopper Chanel Smith Jones said. “I come here every day — at least five times a week.”

The company is headquartered in Camden County, New Jersey. It announced Tuesday morning it’s closing all of its 145 locations, including the flagship store on Broad Street in Center City, which opened in 2017.

“It has everything for every holiday — St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving,” shopper Mercedes Green said.

The company opened its first store in New Jersey in 1985 and employs more than 5,000 people.

“It’s sad. I know a lot of the employees. Hopefully they get to keep their jobs and move on,” shopper Joe Connor said.

The closure isn’t a surprise to Subodha Kumar, a marketing professor at the Fox Business School at Temple University.

Kumar says while online retailer Amazon and big box stores are impacting retail, a lot of the stores that have closed were their own worst enemy by not living up to customers’ expectations.

“The problem is that many of these stores, they didn’t realize that both the supply in the market would be changing and customer taste are changing,” Kumar said.

He also said that there are too many stores selling the same things.

Forty A.C. Moore locations will reopen next year as Michaels, but the company hasn’t said which locations they are.

“I’m shocked and I’m really worried because I work at the Children’s Hospital so I buy a lot of crafts here for the kids,” shopper Gilana Tahir said. “And I was really happy when the downtown store opened and I felt like finally, we had a good craft store.

“I guess we’re going to transfer all of our shopping to Michaels and I’m hoping that the products are the same or equal quality because I’ve gotten used to buying stuff here.”

Kumar says there are many other retailers that are close to closing but didn’t say which ones.

As for A.C. Moore, it didn’t offer a time frame for when the stores will be closing. It says that information will come in the next few weeks.