Some Benny’s locations could close within weeks

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Some Benny’s locations could close in as little as three weeks, one of the company’s co-owners said Friday.

Arnold Bromberg, vice-president and co-owner of the iconic Southern New England retailer, said it’s “possible” some locations could be shutting their doors within the next month. The company announced last Friday it will shut down by the end of this year.

“We are restocking the shelves – we have a warehouse distribution center in Smithfield with a lot of merchandise in it,” Bromberg said during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. “We are not bringing much more in now at all. We plan on shipping it out to the stores as quickly as we can and selling it as quickly as we can.”

Bromberg said sales at Benny’s have been robust since the closing was announced one week ago, and that could impact when a location locks its doors for good. “It depends on that and a lot of different things,” he said.

The most popular item moving off the shelves is Benny’s-branded merchandise like T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats emblazoned with the signature cursive logo. Bromberg said the company is now printing up new paraphernalia – soon to be memorabilia – and stores should be restocked by Sunday or early next week.

Bromberg said his family owns 29 of the 31 Benny’s locations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and talks are ongoing about selling off the real estate. He said some of the stores could be sold in clusters.

“There is a lot of interest,” Bromberg said. “They are great retail locations; they are on main roads and in neighborhoods.”

“They’ll end of being some type of retail store, I have no doubt about that,” he added.

Bromberg said his hope is retail workers displaced by the closing of the business may end up working in the same building where they have for years – just for a different company.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook