Retail stores are struggling right now and the list of bankruptcies and closures seems to grow daily — Gordmans, Vanity, Macy’s and J.C. Penney are among the latest. Thief River Falls, Minnesota, has started a petition to save its J.C. Penney store, although the giant retailer hasn’t been swayed.
The community’s location is on the list of those that will be shuttered. The petition, while a strong statement of community support for J.C. Penney, doesn’t change the financial straits in which the chain finds itself. It does, however, list reasons the company should choose to stay in Thief River Falls: housing developments; future plans for road rehabilitation projects in the downtown area; and expansion of the Digi-Key factory, which is expected to create as many as 1,000 jobs. But maybe all that still doesn’t translate into shoppers and revenue for J.C. Penney. And maybe it does, but not enough.
Regardless, it looks like Thief River Falls’ J.C. Penney location is closing, along with others in the region. Macy’s in Grand Forks is bare and is even selling the shelves and racks once used to display its merchandise. The story on the front page of the Grand Forks Herald today tells us Canadians aren’t coming to Grand Forks to spend their money like they used to. That’s partly attributable to the exchange rate, but fewer stores won’t help. Gordmans, alone, was a big draw for Canadians and that’s on its way out, too.
It’ll be interesting to see what the next few months bring as far as retail store financial news. In the meantime, I think I’ll try to be part of a solution and make sure I frequently shop at some of the stores my community does still have to offer.