Gap In Upper Montclair Closing This Month

It’s been part of the fabric of Upper Montclair for decades, but now the Gap store on Valley Road will soon be a memory. Gap had recently announced plans to close more than 100 Gap and Banana Republic stores globally, but the writing has been on the wall for the Upper Montclair location since it was listed back in October 2019.

The Gap in Upper Montclair is slated to close on April 23. Inventory is currently marked down to 40 percent off.

What will come to the Gap space? There are rumblings of an Orange Theory or a bike store, but nothing confirmed.

The Gap, as a chain store, may not spark the outcry that the closing of the nostalgic Olympic Shop (a small department store opened by former sprint champion Mickey Francoise that closed in 2006) did, or more recently, Murph’s Sport Shop in 2016. Yet, as an anchor store in Upper Montclair, it offered a chance to grab staple items — a white button down shirt for a school event, a belt, a pair of jeans — that will be missed.

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  1. This really sucks! If this town cannot support a Gap, one wonders how Talbots can manage to stay open. How any retail clothing chain can for that matter.

  2. U Montclair Gap was never more than a C store in the best of times and an inventory hog.

    BUT!! A GREAT BUT! It’s closing offers another one of those once-in-a-generation opportunities we have been hearing on Montclair’s various Zoom meetings.

    The building owners walled-over the Lorraine Ave storefront decades ago and converted the space to inventory overhead space to serve GAP, effectively killing off any revival of that short Lorraine Av streetscape segment. Our appointees approved this.

    Today, we are now resigned to approving faux-Mondrian facade treatments to the rear, while intrusions remain out front.

    Most any use would be better than a wall. So when the inevitable variance application by the new tenant comes to the Planning or Zoning Board, maybe it should be granted if it advances the streetscape…and adds more retail foot traffic.

    This won’t happen. There are a dozen reasons why it can’t, yet the variance will be approved. It is just the way it works. But, I’m daring to dream.

  3. Burner’s Stationary was there many decades before my time.

    See this “undated” photo of the Valley Road storefront.
    (It is actually c.1949…the dead giveaway is the “Best Cartoons of 1949” book on display in the window. Combined with “The Mature Mind” next to it, I can be pretty confident of the dating.)

    I recall the conversion, but I can’t say for sure if Gap was the first tenant.

  4. To be clear, Burner’s ripped out their storefront and replaces with a typical mid-century design. The business remained until at least 1985…likely the early-mid 1990’s. I’m not all that motivated to ascertain the specifics.

    But, also in the window was an Esquire branded book titled Handbook for Hosts. FYI, Esquire was a men’s magazine.

    “Sparklingly illustrated throughout and highlighted by many of Esquire’s most famous cartoons, bar games and cues to home entertainment, this handbook is appropriately divided into three main sections…
    Eat: 316 tantalizing canape, snack and male-slanted food recipes
    Drink: 608 Esquire-tested recipes for the happy home bartender
    Be Merry! 585 bright entertainment ideas, bar games, hints for hosts”

    Oh, those Post-War, suburban, Greatest Generation, mid-century lifestyles.

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