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At one time, J.C. Penney stores were the anchor of their business district and their community as a whole. The chain had 38 stores across Montana by the end of the Great Depression, according to a 2012 Independent Record article written by the Montana Historical Society.

Now, the company is planning to close 130 to 140 stores and two distribution centers across the country in early July. While none of Montana’s J.C. Penney locations are on Business Insider’s list of those most at risk of closing, according to Morningstar Credit Ratings, the company has not yet announced which stores will be targeted for closure.

J.C. Penney was formed from a company called Golden Rule, a nod to the founders’ belief that customers should be treated the way they would want to be treated. And as U.S. shoppers increasingly spend their money with the nameless, faceless merchants on the other end of their computer screens, we hope to receive that old-fashioned, in-person service at Helena’s J.C. Penney store long into the future.

For many longtime Helenans, J.C. Penney is not just a store, but a major part of their childhood. And we hope it will continue to be a part of our children's childhood too. 

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If Helena felt busier than usual over the weekend, it wasn’t just your imagination.

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Well over 1,000 young basketball players, along with coaches, referees, volunteers, parents and fans from throughout Montana, were in town for the SWISH Youth Basketball Tournament, which is hosted each year by the Helena Chamber of Commerce.

For young participants, this was a chance to hone their skills in a friendly competition with their peers from across the state.

For our local economy, the chamber reports that people spending money at local hotels, restaurants and stores resulted in an estimated economic impact of close to $1 million.

With 123 teams competing in 11 area gyms and 13 basketball courts, the SWISH tourney was no small production. And we want to thank the chamber and everyone else involved in this great event for tirelessly working to bring it to fruition year after year.

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