L.A. County Seeks to Help 99 Cent Only Store Employees Who Lost Their Jobs Due to Stores Closing

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Apr 23, 2024

Dollar Tree, Dollar General, 99 Cents Only—there are many different companies that offer local shoppers something they want and often need: products for under $1. 

These stores have previously been incredibly successful, but in an ever-changing world, some of the companies are struggling to keep their prices so extremely low while staying above water. Sadly, 99 Cents Only has succumbed to the fact that they are not making enough money to continue, but LA lawmakers want to help.

99 Cents Only Plans to Close All 371 Stores

Founded in 1982 by Dave Gold, 99 Cents Only first opened its doors in Los Angeles, California. Since then, the company has opened 370 more stores in California, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. 

A red and white sign that reads “Going Out of Business” on a glass door

Source: Adobe Stock

However, on April 5, 2024, 99 Cents Only announced that it would close all 371 locations between then and June 3, 2024.

It Hasn’t Been All Smooth Sailing for 99 Cents Only

While this pronouncement was certainly a surprise to the stores’ customers and employees, the truth is that it hasn’t been going all that well for 99 Cents Only behind the scenes. 

Financial paperwork alongside a booklet with the title “Bankruptcy Chapter 11”

Source: iStock

In October 2011, the original owners, the Gold family, sold the company to Ares Management and the CPP Investment Board for $1.6 billion. Then, in September 2023, they announced that they had sold their LA warehouses and were extremely close to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Liquidating Became the Only Option

Finally, they realized at the start of 2024 that liquidation was the only answer and made its distressing announcement. 

Linkedin profile picture of Mike Simoncic, the CEO of 99 Cents Stores/A logo for 99 Cents Store on a white background

Source: @MikeSimoncic/Linkedin/@99CentsOnly/Facebook

CEO Mike Simoncic said in a statement, “This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve. Unfortunately, the last several years have presented significant and lasting challenges in the retail environment, including the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting consumer demand, rising levels of shrink, persistent inflationary pressures, and other macroeconomic headwinds.”

14,000 Americans Are Losing Their Jobs

Of course, Simoncic and fans of 99 Cents Only are disappointed, but it’s the nearly 14,000 company employees that will be the most negatively affected. 

A woman sits on her phone next to her belongings in a cardboard box after being fired

Source: Freepik

As things stand right now, each and every one of these people will be out of a job by June 5. However, according to several sources, there is a chance that many of these thousands of Americans could still be working at a 99 Cents Only store at the end of the year. 

The Former President of Big Lots May Save the Day

Just a few days after the 99 Cents Only announcement, Mark Miller, the former president of popular retailer Big Lo and current CEO of Pic ‘N’ Save, made a declaration of his own. He said he would try to buy the 99 Cents Store corporation and keep as many stores as possible open. 

Exterior of a Big Lots store focused on the sign

Source: Shutterstock

Miller said that he already has his investors organized and plans to acquire the stores in Southern California, close them down for just three months, and then reopen with a return to the store’s original atmosphere.


The 99 Cents Store Once Felt Like a “Treasure Hunt”

As Miller explained, 99 Cents Only once felt like a “treasure hunt” for great products at fantastic prices. Miller told ABC7, “What I hope is going to happen here is that you’re going to see a new, better, more unique 99 Cents store.”

Photograph of shoppers in a 99 Cents Only store with writing on the wall that reads “Hello 99ers!”

Source: @99CentsOnly/Facebook

He continued, “What I want to make sure is that yes, there’s a big food business at the 99 Cents stores, and that we continue as far as great goods, great prices… great bargains, great treasure hunt items.”


Meanwhile LA County Is Making Plans in Case the Buyout Doesn’t Go Through

However, Miller’s deal has yet to be finalized. In the meantime, the Lost Angeles Board of Supervisors has decided to create a plan that would assist the thousands of LA residents who may be losing their jobs over the next few months. 

The meeting room for the LA County Board of Supervisors

Source: LA County Board of Supervisors

One of the LA County Supervisors, Janice Helm, said in a statement, “I am worried about the thousands of 99 Cents Store workers across L.A. County who are going to lose their jobs, but L.A. County is ready to help.”


What Does This Government Assistance Look Like?

Helm explained, “We have a department that can step in during an event like this and help workers with not only short-term assistance to get through this difficult time, but job training and support to help them get a better job.”

A young woman hands in her resume to a potential employer


The motion to assist any LA residents who are laid off when the 99 Cents Stores closed will be presented to the board later this week. 


LA Is Getting More Expensive Every Day

One of the reasons why helping those who are about to lose their jobs due to the liquidation of the 99 Cents Store is so important is because LA is becoming more and more expensive by the day. 

A depiction of inflation with a red arrow climbing up steps of coins alongside a calculator

Source: Freepik

As of March 2024, the estimated cost of a family living in LA is a whopping $4,941 per month, and that’s not including rent. The average gallon of milk now costs $4.69 and a loaf of white bread is $4.81. 


The Closing of 99 Cents Only Means “Harder Times” Ahead

Now, more than ever, the residents of Los Angeles truly need stores like 99 Cents to be able to afford their groceries, utilities, rent, car payments, etc., every month. 

A customer with an umbrella makes their ways to the doors of a 99 Cents Store

Source: Reddit

LA resident Juan King told the press, “Closing this down is a big discouragement. It’s a sad time because this really means harder times for people who use this to help budget their little bit of finances.”


What’s Next for 99 Cents Stores?

Hopefully, Mark Miller’s plan will come to fruition and the nearly 200 stores in Southern California will only be closed for a few months before opening up again. 

Exterior of a 99 Cents Store in San Diego, California

Source: Reddit

If it doesn’t, LA lawmakers will try their best to help those who have lost their jobs. However, there’s nothing they can do for the thousands of people who utilized the store’s discount prices to make ends meet in the increasingly expensive city.