Lately, too often, we are talking about “big box” stores closing. Gordman’s, one of the chains with a shop in the Shoppes of College Hills, recently declared bankruptcy.
Then, Eastland Mall was hit again with the loss of J.C. Penney closing their store in Bloomington. Comments like, Mayor Renner’s in the Pantagraph, “Obviously, big box stores are having trouble throughout the country…” are getting to be too common place.
In the last few months, J.C. Penney, Gordman’s, Gap, Gap Kid’s, and Macy’s all made their announcement of closing.
“We’ve seen in the age of people shopping online that the small specialty stores do better than the big box stores. I believe the figure is that there has not been an enclosed mall that has been built in the United States in the last decade,” Mayor Renner commented in the Pantagraph.
It seems depressing to hear this news. However, maybe there is a silver lining for the small specialty shops in our small towns?
“The retail industry is in a challenging situation during these difficult times. It isn’t a surprise that business for our small specialty shops is also often a struggle,” says Bobbi McKeon, owner of Heart’s Desire and coordinator of the Specialty Shops Group.
“Online sales compete with “brick and mortar” shopping centers. Shopping in the “city” competes with buying locally. Competition comes from all angles, but some of the stores that are going out of business have been ongoing competition for the small town shops,” continues Bobbi.
“We are thankful every day for those folks who are loyal patrons. Without local business, it is difficult to keep our doors open. And, we are thankful too for those who come “from the city” to experience the small towns and shop at our stores. Our small specialty shops truly offer an “experience” different from the “big box” stores.” continues Bobbi.
“It is hard to see any retail shop close, but we are open to the challenge of “the small specialty stores doing better than the big box stores,” she concludes.
As always, if you have any stories, ideas or suggestions for interesting topics about our community, please stop by Heart’s Desire, call Bobbi McKeon at (815) 692-4500 or email fairbury@fairburyILattractions.com.