Editorial: We contributed to their demise

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Toys”R”Us is just one of the many stores that are filing for bankruptcy or closing its doors in 2018, and it’s not too hard to blame e-commerce for the trend. Others closing some locations include: Footlocker closing 110 stores, JCPenney closing eight stores, Macy’s closing 11 stores, and Sam’s Club closing 63 stores and 12 of them will be converted into e-commerce fulfillment centers. Already, many Kmart and Sears stores are gone.

Let’s re-visit that previous sentence: Sam’s Club is turning some stores into e-commerce centers. Does that surprise anyone?  Probably not because we’re all turning to Amazon or other Web sites to make purchases. I know I’m guilty of it. But what is the effect of having major stores in your area close? Is that even a consideration? All of a sudden people are unemployed. For major retail businesses, that could mean more than 100 people are out of work in one community. There go sales taxes, too. That is probably the least considered thing that happens, but arguably, the most important. When a community loses sales taxes, how is the local government funded? Sure, there are sources of revenue, but in Phenix City’s case, lodging and other taxes account for more than 7 million of its budget. That’s a lot to lose if the sales tax portion were to disappear.

In our community, there are more locally owned retail businesses and boutiques that contribute to the tax base. Are we supporting them, or are we buying online? I know I’m guilty of getting online and purchasing some specialty items that I may not be able to get locally, but as often as we can, we need to support local businesses. Those are the companies that help our local economy. Those are also the companies that support local sports teams, non-profit organization, churches and other causes.

In the future, let’s think twice about where we are making our purchases so we stop seeing so many brick and mortars closing their doors.

By Denise DuBois, Executive Editor