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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

A typical Staples office supply store, in Onta...
A typical Staples office supply store, in Ontario, California. Photographed on March 22, 2005 and uploaded the same day by user Coolcaesar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


        Kind of a running gag that I have upon returning from a vacation is that as I exit the freeway and head toward home, I'll say to my wife, "I wonder if much has changed while we were gone?"

         Whether it be a few days or seven weeks like our most recent vacation, I'll make my little joke.  Most of the time there is no change or, if any, only something minor.   So it seemed when we rolled into our hometown last Tuesday--everything looked the same.   It took me two days to realize there was a very big change--one that was very disappointing to my wife and me.   The Staples store across the street from us was closed down.

          This change won't affect us too adversely, but it was convenient to have an office supply store so close that I could easily walk to it.  I had grown so used to looking out our back windows to see that friendly Staples sign across Rosemead Boulevard.  Now there's just a sad red rectangle where words used to be.

          The demise of our neighborhood Staples came without any real warning unlike the closing of the Borders store that was in the same shopping center.   Borders advertised their closing for a few months ahead of time and each week cut prices until that last week when the little remaining stock went for ultra-bargain prices.  You can bet that I stocked up on books during that closing sale.  I reaped benefits but I was disappointed to see the store close.   A major bookstore in easy walking distance was like a dream come true.

         And now Staples.   Not only Staples but also an AT&T phone store where my wife and I had bought all of our cell phones over the past several years.   Losing the phone store is no biggie since phone stores seem to be on every corner around here.   The closest office supply store will now be at least five miles away.   Still convenient, but not as much as one I could see from our house.

         So what will show up next in those empty store spaces?   It took a while to reoccupy the Borders space.  Eventually a Petsmart--a mega pet store--moved in.   I was not particularly thrilled about that since I don't own any pets and don't intend to.    Only once have I entered that store and that was to buy some of those colorful rocks like you put in aquariums.   My granddaughter kept emptying decorative vases that we have around our house to add to her rock collection.   I bought her a bag of colored stones so she might let our vases be.   Haven't been in that store since.

         The phone store space will probably find a new occupant relatively quickly since it's a smaller space.  The former Staples site might be a tougher proposition.  It's a big space.  I'm not sure what I'd like to see there next.  I wouldn't be too surprised to see a pop-up Halloween store open in that space for a couple months or maybe a temporary Christmas store.  

        The shopping center already has  Lowes, Walmart, Ross, Marshalls, and a plethora of smaller shops dealing in clothing and other sundry items.  With stores closing all around us I'm not sure who else would venture to open up business in the current economy.   Goodwill maybe?   I suppose I could see that though I hope I don't actually see it.   Then again, I wouldn't have to go so far to take my cast-off items for tax write-off donations.

        Whatever does end up opening in those spaces--and I do hope the spaces become occupied quickly--I hope it's the ideal store for me.   A place that I'd love to go to look around and even maybe buy something now and then.   At the moment I can't imagine what that  store might be.  There's not much I want these days.    After all, I'm trying to get rid of stuff.   Hmm--that Goodwill store is starting to sound like a good idea.

Battle of the Bands

       Another Battle of the Bands is coming this Friday August 15th.   Participation grew to greater numbers last round so I would imagine we might see similar numbers this time around.   And even if you aren't staging your own Battle we hope you will vote on the ones who are.   My next Battle will be the start of a themed series where I will be pitting "Boys against the Girls".   The classic tune I've chosen is an oldie but excellentie.  It's one of my favorite tunes--one that I hope you too will enjoy.  Please stop by on Friday.

          What were some stores in your area that you were sad to see close down?    What new stores would you like to see open near you?   Do you ever shop at Goodwill?

30 comments:

  1. Huh, a Staples close to me recently closed as well, but there is another one nearby that I always liked more anyway. I wonder if the company is having problems.

    I worked in a Borders for four years before it closed down. It was kind of heartbreaking to see the frenzy that is liquidation sales, as well as them literally tearing the place apart and selling off every shelf and piece of equipment. It took them a very long time to fill the space, too, since it was a huge store. Now two different stores occupy it.

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  2. I love stationary, so I would probably have been hanging out at the stationary store a lot, or just for fun. Sorry all the stores close to you are closing. I agree, a bookstore that close was so ideal. A pet store, not so much. I hope the new stores opening will be of use to you.

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  3. Lee, you need a dog or a cat.
    It will probably be some kind of clothing store. One of the few things people still prefer to shop for in person. I think Best Buys will be the next to go.

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  4. I can remember seeing a Staples store whilst in LA a few years ago when I met you. It looked a handy sort of store, hope it won't too much of a change for you.

    Talking of changes, I have to get used to having "Floater" in both eyes instead of just one. It's surprising how quickly changes happen in our lives.
    Have a good day.
    Yvonne.

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  5. Radio Shack is going to start closing stores too. I was sad about the bookstores, but mostly the mom & pop ones. Borders was way too expensive. I'm not sorry that Amazon put them out of business. They had no reason to mark up their books and CDs so much.

    I love Goodwill, but the closest one to me is in Hyannis. There's a Salvation Army a couple miles from me but I stopped going there when I found out they hate gays and are super religious. I never made the 'salvation' connection till recently.

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  6. Sarah--According to an article I've linked to, Staples is turning more to online sales and closing lower performing stores. This is happening with businesses all over and I think it could turn out to be bad for the overall economy though save money for the companies that are doing this.

    Murees -- I used to like to just browse Staples to see what they had and get ideas.

    Alex-- Definitely don't need a pet to clean up after. Another clothing store might be overkill. We have too many in our shopping center already.

    Yvonne-- Yes, things keep changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes not, but I don't guess there's much of a way any of us can control most change.

    JoJo-- I heard about Radio Shack closing stores. It's understandable, but it will leave a void for the types of products they sell.

    Lee

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  7. It is a shame that these stores are closing. The more people buy off the internet the more these stores will go which is a shame. It hurts the economy and I still believe in actually seeing and touching what I want to buy because I want quality. It hurts when a bookstores goes under even if it is expensive. I will always buy books. Hopefully you will not get a goodwill across the street....just saying. They are needed and I have gone to them myself but not the best to have them close to home. Can't wait for the battle of the bands. No animal??? I have one dog and 4 cats. My husband is the cat lover. I don't understand why you don't want to clean kitty litter, have hair everywhere, even up your nose, vacuum every day...:) Each to their own but I love animals so one has to love animals in their home to deal with this and still rapture in their kisses

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  8. I'm not surprised to see office supply stores close. We have quite a few in our area and I enjoy looking around in them but so much business is now done online that people don't need their products. And with a Walmart nearby, lots of stuff is cheaper there. A Books a Million moved into our empty Borders store but it's not nearly as nice a book seller.

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  9. Recently some idiot burning something out in the open caused the pharmacy just ten minutes walking distance from my home to catch fire. While only the inside was damaged the store is closed until further notice. I'm so mad because like you said walking distance is so convenient and since I don't drive, even more so. Also with the heat wave we're having no one was supposed to be doing open fires in the first place to cause flying embers or whatever to fly into the pharmacy to set it on fire in the first place. I mean we're not even allowed to water our lawns in Jamaica right now.

    Anyway sorry about my ramble. Changes happen everyday whether huge or small. Sorry about the stores closing down but hopefully this time there will be a new one that you find useful. Yes larger spaces take a while to fill. Maybe they can make some kind of bargain mart and invite multiple smaller stores/businesses to come in and take up shop. That's what Mega Mart did and while my mom goes there for shopping I go to get my packages from my U.S. P.O. Box at the Mail Pac stall. Oh and I hope your next Battle of the Bands post is even more popular than the last. If I can come vote I'll be there.

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  10. I see small spaces closing in shopping centers so often that it is more than disconcerting. I often think, "Will a day come when small business becomes obsolete?" Or maybe all business???? Will we eventually be forced to buy everything we want off of the Internet (because it is cheaper for the vendor than maintaining an actual retail location? And I think the answer might be, "Yes." Look at how many changes have happened in the last 100 years. There was a time when chain stores didn't exist. Everything was Mom & Pop. Now... it is hard to keep a small business open. It makes me sad.

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  11. There are a lot of changes going on in the retail environment, right now. People just don't need office supplies the way they used to because so much can be done online.

    Of course, you don't see them whining and complaining and suggesting that we charge people for sending emails so that they will go buy actual, physical paper instead.

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  12. "Boys against the Girls"

    I have my next two BOTB's scheduled, and one of them could fall under that banner...in fact, I'd thought you'd posted the song already but when I reviewed your history didn't see it (you may have mentioned one of the bands in a non-BOTB post....or I may simply be hallucinating).

    At least your retail spaces are filling-out here in Phoenix there are a lot of empty retail structures, from stores to entire strip malls...and once that starts it's a downward spiral (no one wants to be the only tenant in a shopping center).

    Sadly, I guess bookstores and record stores are going by the wayside...browsing seems to be a thing of the past.

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  13. "Boys against the Girls"

    I have my next two BOTB's scheduled, and one of them could fall under that banner...in fact, I'd thought you'd posted the song already but when I reviewed your history didn't see it (you may have mentioned one of the bands in a non-BOTB post....or I may simply be hallucinating).

    At least your retail spaces are filling-out here in Phoenix there are a lot of empty retail structures, from stores to entire strip malls...and once that starts it's a downward spiral (no one wants to be the only tenant in a shopping center).

    Sadly, I guess bookstores and record stores are going by the wayside...browsing seems to be a thing of the past.

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  14. Birgit-- I'm just not a fan of cleaning up and tending to animals. I know my wife isn't interested either so we're good with our circumstance. Besides I don't want to have to deal with pets when we're doing our travels.

    Susan GK-- I'd be okay with a Books-a-Million in the Staples place. At least it's a place where I can browse through merchandise that I like to look at.

    Sheena-kay-- We had an indoor swap meet about a mile from our house and it closed down this year much to my surprise. The place had been there for years and seemed to be frequented by many customers. That big space now is available too.

    Robin-- Small business is the heart and soul of local economies. This is the greatest source of job creation and movement of local funds. Sadly you're right about the internet business and I think this will hurt in the long run.

    Andrew -- I certainly don't use office supplies like I used to. I did like to have the nearby Staples for my computer and home office needs.

    Larry -- We'll probably start duplicating songs soon. It's getting more difficult to keep track of. Your mention of the empty shopping centers makes me think of the factory outlet mall that I believe is along the interstate in Casa Grande. There are like 2 stores still open in a center that doesn't look that old. It's kind of depressing.

    Lee

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  15. If your Staples space is anything like retail around here, it'll probably just get used a couple of months in a year for fireworks and cheap winter clothes. Hopefully you end up better than that.

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  16. I went to the Salvation Army a few times when I was in Amherst, though I haven't been to Goodwill in recent memory.

    We have an upscale shopping plaza in Albany, and I've seen a number of great stores come and go over the years. Most recently, we lost Coldwater Creek, and a few years before, Alfred's Fabrics left the plaza for a new location in nearby Colonie. We also had Cowan and Lobell's (a fancy food store), an art store, a bakery, Woolworth's, and a bunch of other stores.

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  17. I am grateful the one near me is still open. I love that place. They have great things for the kids.

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  18. I love going in my local Staples and would miss it. They recently cut back their hours, so I hope that's not a sign. I go through a lot of ink and paper.

    I wish we had a Petsmart. That might be dangerous though, as I'd be bringing home a new toy for my cats every week.

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  19. CW-- Cheap winter clothes isn't something with a big demand around here.

    Carrie-Anne-- A Michael's Arts and Crafts might be a good chain to see enter the Staples space. I do like strolling through those stores, but there is one about five miles from us already.

    Lady-- I would have thought that Staples would have hung in there at least until after the back-to-school sales. My wife bought a lot of supplies there for here class.

    L.Diane -- Petsmart does have an extensive inventory of pet stuff. And you can watch them give the dogs haircuts in the front window.

    Lee

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  20. I was sad to see our neighborhood independent bookstore close. Nothing left but big chains and Amazon, now. There's nothing like browsing for books in a shop where the owner knows and loves books.

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  21. I used to love Goodwill. I refuse to shop there now.

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  22. I too was very sad to see Borders go. The one by me used to have live music in the cafe, which was a real treat. I wonder if Staples closing has anything to do with Office Max and Office Depot merging?? You'll have to keep us posted: will be interesting to see what goes in with those already strong anchors.

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  23. The most convenient Staples to me also closed recently (end of last year), but they had signs announcing this way before hand. The old Borders location has now turned into a satellite hospital site. Now, that's a way to make use of that space!

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  24. We have a whole mall that's empty near our Palm Springs place and my husband really misses the Ross that was there. I do actually shop at Goodwill sometimes & I also donate there on a regular basis. I am pretty excited to find that I now live 30 minutes from the Goodwill corporate headquarters. You never know when you need an extra $10 TV for your nephew to play his games on!

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  25. I still miss Borders ... but I also stocked up on books when they held their sale at the end.

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  26. Kelly--I know there are still indie bookstores in the L.A. area, but I think they are farther than I care to go to look for books.

    Jennifer -- My purchases from Goodwill have been few and not for things I really needed.

    Michele-- There might have been some influence of that merger, but mostly I think they are cutting costs by moving to the internet.

    Liz -- I would imagine closing sale signs went up shortly after we went on vacation. That would have given them a month to move merchandise. They probably weren't as interested in liquidation as Borders was since Staples will still be in business.

    Jasmine-- I've been in some near empty malls and it was pretty creepy--and sad.

    Margo -- I have enough books from the Borders liquidation to keep me busy reading for a long time to come at my present reading rate.

    Lee

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  27. Our town has been dying for many years, long before the last 5 years recession. We have more charity (your goodwill I think) shops than anything else. A while back, when a big office company left, they painted across their windows 'Will the last person to leave Bracknell turn out the lights'. Funny and sad. x

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  28. I haven't shopped in too many Goodwills simply because there isn't any close by.

    Borders I was disappointed when it closed because it did have a good selection of stuff to buy and it was great to stop by and listen to local musicians play.

    Most of the stores that I've been sad to see close have been of the very local variety. Very tough for a local store to make here in our town.

    Father Nature's Corner

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  29. In Singapore, very few neighborhoods remain the same for very long. The one store that's going to open in my neighborhood is a fancy Japanese stationery store-- and I'm very afraid. My wallet's going to be a lot lighter, and my cupboards brimming with not-so-useful-but-very-pretty-stuff.

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  30. Suzanne -- I think this is happening to many small American towns as well as a number of certain urban areas.

    GB-- I don't think we ever had any musicians playing at our local Borders. They did have a few book signings though.

    Damyanti-- I'm rarely tempted to buy anything these days. My wife certainly makes up for what I'm not buying.

    Lee

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Lee