January 7, 2013
RE: Clackamas Town Center Shootings
Dear Ron Johnson - CEO of JCPs,
For the last year, your JCP brand overhaul has been on my radar. As an entrepreneur I noticed commercials and ads spilling over with an exuberant attitude; a simple, clean, fun aesthetic. My interest was piqued. I watched your interview on CBS’s Sunday Morning and I appreciated your foresightedness to see this overhaul through. I sent my husband there for a sweater once and he came back with two. Not bad I thought. Then on December 11 I was close to the JCPs at Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas Oregon and I thought I’d check it out. I hadn’t been to a JC Penney’s since I was a child. I’m pretty sure I am in your demographic of consumers to target this time around.
When I walked into the store I strolled the avenues and appreciated the mini stores inside. I agree that if you know the brands you like stepping into a mini store can make your shopping so much simpler. I found things I liked right away so I began filling up my arms with a variety of holiday gifts. I found slippers and a scarf for my daughter, fuzzy socks for my son’s Christmas stocking and a sweater for myself. A sweet young woman handed me a button and told me to enter a JCP contest. It was a festive mood among the shoppers. I found so many things I planned to purchase that I soon needed a cart or basket. I looked by the cashier stations and by the door that lead to the parking lot…no luck, the cashier sent me to the front of the mall near the elevators. I remember wondering why are there so few baskets available for shoppers? I headed towards the entrance to the mall and when I was almost there I heard what sounded like fireworks going off inside the mall. Shoppers started running into JCPs yelling, “There’s a shooter – run”.
I dropped my armload of gifts and followed a crowd of people to the closest potential exit, which was the employee area. Employees who were back there were asking what was happening, we said ‘there’s a shooter.” The ones we told ran out into the store. A dozen of us, random holiday shoppers, started moving through the back hallways in search of a place to hide. One man pointed to an EXIT sign and said if anyone wanted to leave they should follow the exit sign. No one left the group. I remember thinking who knows where that exit sign will take you. In looking at the graphic of the event it’s possible that the exit may have lead out to the stairwell where the shooter ended up taking his life. I don’t know that for sure however
sure is eerie
. Instead I opted to stay with the rest of the group as did everyone else. We ended up in the farthest room we could find with a solid door. I suspected it was an IT room from the computer servers inside it.