Corporate decisions to close Best Buy, Sears, Old Navy and other stores in Rocky Mount probably have more to do with national marketing strategies than with local shopping habits. But the closings remind us, nonetheless, of how interconnected our close-knit community is and how important it is to our quality of life to support local retailers.
The closings of all three stores were casualties of cost- cutting. Rocky Mount stores were by no means the only ones affected. In the case of Best Buy, at least, healthy sales seemed to make little difference to the decision makers. Nationally, Best Buy is embarking on a different retail strategy, and Rocky Mount’s present store, unfortunately, doesn’t fit the plan.
The Internet has left a permanent dent on traditional retail. Stories of shoppers who ask local sales representatives a dozen questions about a high-defintion television only to go home and order it online aren’t just urban legends. That consumer might rub his hands together over the money he’s saving by not paying sales tax, but his decision hurts neighbors, schools, police, firefighters and our overall quality of life.
Despite a stormy economy, Golden East Crossing mall and other retails centers in Rocky Mount remain major shopping magnets for folks in the Twin Counties, Wilson County, Halifax County and points beyond.
If we don’t shop in local stores, we further the risk of losing them.