Still Many Choices in the Local Area

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BEAR Press Release

Many residents are concerned about the number of retail chain stores that have been closing in the area over the past year.

In 2016, Kmart and JC Penney closed their doors, both having had a very long relationship with the area and people here. Kmart had been here since the 1980s and the Penney’s store as it stood had been on Main Street since the 1940s, although a previous store in town had been one of the original stores founded by its owner over 100 years ago. Aaron’s Rentals closed in the last couple of years as well.

This year, a number of stores have either closed or have announced their closing. Rue 21, Payless Shoes and now Bealls Department Store is closing later this month.

With the exception of Bealls, all these closures have resulted from corporate decisions to close many stores in their respective chains, either based on population base or overall economics of the companies themselves. For example, Sears Holding Company, which owns Kmart, recently announced another big closure of stores (over 40) because they continue to pare down their number of outlets to “concentrate on their most profitable stores.” The only singular closure the area is involved in when it comes to a retail chain is Bealls.

Many in the area have lamented these closings because it not only means a loss of jobs, but also a loss of shopping choices. Some have also said they are being closed because of the areas economy, but that is dispelled by the fact that the chains are closing so many stores for a variety of reasons.

While the job loss is not good, some very viable local shopping options are still open to people. One of the areas that people are the most concerned about is clothing and shoe wear, yet there remains a number of stores that can supply much of what is needed to local shoppers.

The largest store in the area, Walmart, continues to stock a fairly full line of clothes. But that is not the only choice. In the Carbon County area, 22 Clothing, Intermountain Farmers, Bookcliff Sales, Lil Touch of Bling, Maurice’s, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Hibbett Sports, Sutherlands and Tractor Supply sell a variety of clothes and/or shoes for those looking for options.

In the Emery County area, there is Naturally Inspired and the Castle Valley Co-Op.

“What has happened may appear to be a reduction in the areas choices for clothing shopping, but that is not the reality,” said Karl Kraync, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Castle Country Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) program in the two-county area. “People seem to want to go the large outlets but these smaller stores, some of the locally owned, have a lot of options for people to explore. In many cases, shoppers do not need to go over the mountain or shop online. They can get what they want here in our local area.”

The BEAR program is designed to assist in growing new and existing rural businesses, influence rural job creation, and increase economic diversity in rural regions by enhancing the level of technical services provided. BEAR actively reaches out to rural businesses and makes the connection between the company and needed existing resources from all agencies, higher education, and other resources. For more information about BEAR, its affiliated programs and on-going general meeting schedule, which is open to the public, email wmitty@emerytelcom.net.