Last Friday, when the manager asked her to announce that the building would close at 3 p.m. "to take inventory." Nancy Turner knew the the time to find a new job had finally come.
After months of rumor and uncertainty, the Korvettes Inc. store in Langley Park where she had worked for six years was closing. In July Korvettes had given its employes union 30 days notice that the store would close, but that didn't make it any easier.
"It's still a shock," said Turner. "You work with people and they all become our friends. We were like family."
Three other Korvettes stores in the Washington area were also shut down as part of an effort to save the trouble bled discount-store chain. Except for planned closing-out the stores will almost certaily remain closed for good. f
Fred Hundley, a maintenance engineer for Korvettes for 16 years, learned over his lunch at a restaurant near the Laurel Park store, and shook his head over the events of the last few months.
"I always thought they were booming, expanding. Then bang -- it's wham on the back of the head."
"I've got sixteen years down the drain for nothing," Hundley said. "I can throw them years away."
The closing will throw Vic Renna, manager of Korvettes' Baileys Crossroads store in Northern Virginia out of a job he began just nine months ago. Veteran of 22 years with the chain, Renna was transferred from a Korvettes store near Baltimore, when it was closed.
Now, he says, "I've just got to go out in the job market like anyone else. Not too many jobs (at) my position," he added.
Renna and Korvettes' approximately 200 other area employes all will receive their weekly checks for staffing the closing sales, according to Gordon Bryan, a Korvettes senior vice president. A skeleton crew of workers returned to the four stores yesterday to prepare for the sales, which may last a month. Inventory was taken over the weekend.
Bryan said the chain plans to close about half its remaining 29 stores, and that it is conceivable -- though no likely -- that one or more stores in the Washington area would remain after the upcoming sales.
"A determination has not been made as to which stores will be kept open." he said. "I don't think (they'll) be in Washington."
Bryan said the company had originally planned to close all its stores outside the New York City area.
"It's been a very sad experience," said Bryan. "We had very high hopes for the Washington market at one time."
In recent months, however, Korvettes and its Washington area customers seemed to have given up on the stores.
"The past few (shoppoing trips)." said Marcia Smith a Langley Park customer, "it seemed like except for the people who worked there, I was the only one in the store."
"There's been no business in there so long," said George McNaughton, a sales clerk in the men's department, employes "were walking around and didn't know what to do."
At the same time, the Langley Park store received no new merchandise for more than two months, according to department supervisors there.