Biz Buzz: Kohl's among stores closing because of coronavirus

Westgate Mall announced it will close at 3 p.m. Friday, March 20, and reopen March 27.

Kohl's in Baxter. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Kohl’s became the largest big box store in the lakes area to temporarily close its doors in response to the coronavirus.

Signs up in the doors in the Baxter location announced the closing.

Kohl’s announced it would temporarily close all of its stores as of 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, because of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

“To demonstrate our support of the efforts underway to contain the spread of the coronavirus, we are closing all Kohl’s stores through at least April 1. We will support store associates with two calendar weeks of pay,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “We will continue to serve customers on and our Kohl’s App, and we look forward to reopening our stores soon to serve families across the country.”

Kohl’s reported it will continue to serve customers online at and via the Kohl’s App and will ship orders directly to their homes.


Super One Foods began closing all its stores at 9 p.m. to allow time for cleaning and restocking as consumers continue to put a heavy demand for products. Toilet paper was in supply Thursday but limited to one pack per customer.

Cub Foods changed its hours to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. as of Wednesday, March 18, and created a special hour to allow for those who are at high risk to shop with fewer people and maintaining social distance.

“We welcome health care professionals, first responders, the elderly and high risk customers to shop from 6-7 a.m. to provide proper social distancing. We ask that all others wait to shop until after 7 a.m. to help keep everyone safe,” Cub Foods noted on its website.

While parking lots are noticeably less busy, there is still considerable traffic along Washington Street.

T.J. Maxx reported it was closing all of its stores, across the globe, for the next two weeks and temporarily closing its online businesses, and, as well as its distribution and fulfillment centers and offices, with associates working remotely when they can.

Businesses are also looking at ways to make it through these challenging times.


Stephen Mann, CEO of Mann Theatres, owners of the Lakes 12 Theatre, stated in a news release, the closing is creating significant hardship for the company's employees.

"We’re doing everything we can to help get them through this period while making certain there will be a stable company to return to," Mann stated. "We are moved by those that have reached out wondering how they can help. If you would like to help, now through March 27th, 100% of every Mann Theatres gift card purchased will go to helping our employees through this difficult time. Once we have reopened, those gift cards can be redeemed across all locations in Minnesota. You can purchase tickets, concessions or enjoy drinks from one of our bars. ... To the communities, customers, colleagues and friends of Mann Theatres ... stay well and thank you for your continued support. We’ll see you soon."

Late last week, crews continued to work on the new Harbor Freight Tools store, which is slated to open this spring in the space formerly occupied by Big Lots at the Westgate Mall.

Friday afternoon, the Westgate Mall operators, Lexington Realty International, made the decision to close the mall as of 3 p.m. Friday and reopen March 27, noting the fluidity of the situation with a note that update would be sent should that change.

The mall was operating with reduced hours prior to the decision to close, although a number of businesses were shuttered inside as of Thursday, including Bath and Body Works, Claire’s, Brekken’s, Maurices, and Christopher and Banks. Thursday, Dunham’s emphasized its store cleaning efforts on a note to customers at its doors as businesses continued to navigate this altered reality.

Brekken’s closed March 19, noting the move was done to be in the best interest of staff and customers. The store’s sign listed a hopeful reopening date of March 31 along with a note saying “stay safe.”

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include T.J. Maxx, Mann Theatres.


Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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