Gottschalk's Headquarters Closed for Good

April 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gottschalks headquarters in North Fresno has been Carla Beckwith's second home. She started working for the company as senior in high school. She said, "So a total of 30 years I've worked at this company. It's difficult saying goodbye to all your friends." Through the decades co-workers became like family. "That is what's different with this company over every other company we all grew up together."300 Gottschalks employees emptied their offices of plants, lamps and boxes so big they needed a cart. Angel Gibson said, "That's the worst part it's like bringing all your memories in a box and sticking them in your car. It's the best place I've ever worked."

Marie Ramirez only worked for the department store chain for a year but she feels saying goodbye was just as difficult for her as those who'd spent their whole career there. "It was heartbreaking for everybody, there wasn't a dry eye. It was like going to funeral. It was really sad."

One woman took a picture of headquarters because she wanted to capture the moment she left Gottschalks for good after 32 years. She was too emotional to talk.

Gottschalks Chairman Joe Levy said, "Sort of like parents, they're our children." Levy never thought he would see the day the company his grand uncle founded in 1904 go out of business. He says he'll keep the office he has at headquarters but it won't be the same without all his children. "Everything has a beginning and everything has an end and you have to accept reality."

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