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Rockers try to save JCPenney store in the Valley

July 1, 2012 | 12:40 pm

In a last ditch effort to keep JCPenney from closing its doors in San Fernando, residents plan to show their affection for the ailing chain store Sunday afternoon by cruising its parking lot in classic cars, serenaded by the Chicano rock band War.

The store, which has been in business for more than 80 years in the heart of the small town, anchors an outdoor mall that is within walking distance for many residents who have no other form of transportation. 

The department store’s corporate owners in Plano, Texas, “have no idea how important they are to us,” said San Fernando City Councilwoman Sylvia Ballin, one of the organizers of the rally.

Ballin said she sent a letter to JCPenney leaders Friday imploring them to rethink the decision to close, but she doesn’t know if it will do any good. “They will more than likely say, "Hey, let’s kick San Fernando to the curb, but at least we’re getting our message out.' "

Perhaps when War cranks up its 1975 hit “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” someone in Texas will hear it.

A big box chain store “isn’t the sort of thing that people would normally get all gooey-eyed about,” said Diana Martinez, editor of the San Fernando Valley Sun, “but a lot of these families have lived here for generations and they’ve grown up with the store.”

JCPenney corporate officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.


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Photo: Band members from the group War, photographed at Griffith Park in 2008, are scheduled to appear in the San Fernando Valley in an effort to save the Valley's JCPenney store. Credit: Karen Tapia-Anderson / Los Angeles Times