1 of 5
Sam Penrod, Deseret News
Crews work to remove letters that used to spell Nordstrom on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. The store at University Mall in Orem closed its doors Friday, Feb. 24.
I'm very confident we will find another tenant soon. But we're not ready to make any announcements yet —Rob Kallas, manager of University Mall

OREM— As snow began to fall Tuesday, work crews continued to remove large letters used to spell out Nordstrom, which until a few days ago was an anchor store of the University Mall in Orem.

Now the Orem mall has two major vacancies of anchor tenants.

Mervyn's went out of business more than two years ago, and Nordstrom shut its doors for good on Friday.

"I'm really sad about it,” said Neisah Satterfield, who was a frequent customer at the Orem store. “I actually shopped there a lot and I think it's one of the higher end places here, so it's sad it's going out."

There was no going out of business sale and the merchandise is being moved to the new Nordstrom store at the City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

Employees at the Orem store were also offered positions at the new Salt Lake location, which will open March 22.

Brandon Bennett stopped by Nordstrom occasionally, but was caught off guard that the store was closing. "I was kind of surprised because they are a pretty big store and have good customer service. But I didn't go a ton, so it's not going to affect me.” he said.

Rob Kallas, the manager of University Mall, said efforts have been under way for weeks to find a replacement for Nordstrom. But so far nothing is finalized and now a second large space at the mall is sitting vacant.

“I’m very confident we will find another tenant soon.” Kallas said. “But we’re not ready to make any announcements yet.”

Orem leaders worked hard to bring Nordstrom to town 10 years ago in an effort to revitalize the mall, at a time tenants were being recruited to move to the new Provo Towne Center mall.

“Disappointed," is how Orem Mayor Jim Evans described the departure. “They've been such a great business for our community.”

Now Orem is not only losing an attractive business, it's also losing the sales tax Nordstrom generated.

Some customers at the University Mall said they'll now have to consider expanding their shopping routines.

"Find somewhere else to go, go to Provo, that's all we really can do," said shopper Nick Nelson.

But the Provo Towne Center is also losing one of its anchor tenants.

"We're all sad to lose Sears,” said Provo Mayor John Curtis. “Sears has been a part of Provo for many years."

Unlike Nordstrom, Sears will close as part of a property sale with the owner of the mall, General Growth Properties. Eleven Sears stores will close nationwide.

Along with the store in Provo, the Sears in Murray will also shut down. Both stores, however, are expected to remain in operation until sometime in 2013.

General Growth Properties sees a better investment opportunity in the Sears space in Provo of yet-to-be-announced tenants, according to Curtis.

“This was their decision and they clearly have a plan and vision of what they'd like to have happen here," the mayor said. "This is a good place for retail development in our city, so we think we'll get something good.”

And Evans says Orem is working with several businesses about opening stores in his city, specifically along University Parkway. He is optimistic Orem will remain a major player for retail in Utah County.

“We’re still very excited about the future,” the Orem mayor said.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com