09/01/11 — Department stores open at mall today

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Department stores open at mall today

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 1, 2011 1:46 PM

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JCPenney associate Tony Kennedy sets up his cash register this morning as the first customers to enter the department store in almost a week streamed in. JCPenney, Belk and Sears opened this morning for the first time since Saturday when Hurricane Irene's winds damaged Berkeley Mall.

Three of the Berkeley Mall stores reopened this morning after a roof collapse in the mall closed their doors for several days.

All three department stores cleared inspections Wednesday and are now open for business.

JCPenney store manager Karen Witt said Tuesday the department store would open for business at 10 a.m. today.

She said she hasn't seen any damage to the store's inventory other than one table of merchandise that got wet.

Sears and Belk officials also announced this morning that they, too, would be opening their doors today.

Shoppers can only enter the stores through the JCPenney, Belk and Sears entrances. The mall itself remains closed.

County residents who are planning a trip to Berkeley Mall Friday will still only be able to enter through one of the mall's three department stores. They also will not be able to access the internal stores inside the mall or to enter the mall through any of the usual mall entrances.

Berkeley Mall Manager Jan Luttrell said Wednesday afternoon that only Belk, JCPenney and Sears department stores will be open this week. There will be no public access to the mall interior, she emphasized.

Winds from Hurricane Irene caused the mall's roof to collapse near the Belk department store atrium Saturday, causing widespread damage to the interior of the mall and several smaller stores.

Those smaller stores and the mall's interior will continue to be closed to the public as crews will continue to repair the damaged areas.

Bath & Body Works, Gamestop and Verizon Wireless are predicted to be among the last to open and Daughtry Jewelers might need to be temporarily moved after its second floor ceiling collapsed.