Gottschalks' former executive says he's planning a new company

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Gottschalks department stores, a former Fresno icon and stalwart of Main Streets across the West, could be making a comeback.

The former chairman emeritus of the bankrupt retailer says he will disclose plans Tuesday for a new company, Gottschalks by Joe Levy Inc.

The 78-year-old Levy is the grandnephew of the chain’s founder, Emil Gottschalk. He was CEO of the company and its 58 stores when it began selling off assets a year ago this month to satisfy debt. More than 4,000 employees lost jobs.

Levy is teaming with Robert Lawson, Gottschalks former chief financial officer.

Gottschalks opened its first store in downtown Fresno in 1904. It thrived in an era of regional department stores, but could not survive the current economic downturn.

The Fresno Bee has the latest on Joe Levy's plans for a new company.