Don’t let your lying eyes fool ya…
Seems like everywhere you turn in Johnson County and other snooty, upscale urban enclaves, that strip malls and trendy retailers are sprouting up willy nilly. They can’t build ’em fast enough.
The flip side of that equation: brick and mortar retailers nationwide are dropping like flies – dying off so fast the obituaries are being written prior to their actual dirt naps taking place.
Seriously, does anyone out there really expect to be hitting the blue light specials at K-Mart in 2019? Or even 2018?
Same for Sears that sold of its vaunted Craftsman tool line this past year, ostensibly to keep what’s left of the ship of state afloat.
Department stores like Macy’s and Dillards have been hanging on for dear life for decades. Every time I go in one I feel like I’ve crossed over into a time warp back to the 1970s or ’80s.
Now even trendy retailers like Target have begun to hemorrhage red ink.
“Target shows progress, but turnaround still has a way to go,” reads a recent CNBC headline.
The venerable retailer can’t close its stores fast enough.
It’s oldest store in its original location in Pendleton, Oregon just announced it would close, along with the one in Lawrence and 136 other Penney stores around the country.
Sporting goods stores have become an endangered species with chains such as MC Sports joining retailers like Sports Authority and Golfsmith that have already gone down the tubes.
All of this and much, much more during an arguably healthy economy.
Is nothing sacred?
Actually the answer is a resounding yes.
I have met the future – you have too – and it’s dollar stores.
Never gave it much though before, but it’s getting harder and harder not to notice ’em – they’re everywhere!
Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Everything’s a Dollar, Dollar Stop, Dollar Outlet – even Dollar Panties for crying out loud.
You heard me.
Looking for a gray with white polka dot and purple lace trim bikini panty? Forget the $7.99 list price; try two bucks!
How about a $5.99 list price neon day glow fluorescent yellow low rise lace boy short for a measly buck?
Because when it comes to dollar stores, it’s a brave new world.
“I go there to get deals,” says Topeka office worker Stephanie. “I always buy my laundry soap at at Dollar General and there’s an Everything’s a Dollar store I go to to buy chicken and beef broth because you can get a big container for $1. And like at Aldi’s it’s $1.69 or $1.79. I’m one of those girls who goes to different stores to save money.”
Curious why Kansas City greeting card behemoth Hallmark Cards keeps closing stores and laying everybody off?
“The greeting cards at Dollar Tree are 50 cents each or two for a dollar,” Stephanie explains.
You may get free shipping at hallmark.com but be prepared to choke out three to six bills or more per card.
So while the pink slips are falling like rain at conventional retailers, Dollar General recently announced it would create 10,000 new jobs this year.
“I’m addicted to Dollar General’s black cherry sparkling water,” says retiree Mary Shivers. “I think one time I was taking some medicine and I needed something to take it with and I stopped in there .”
The flip side of Shiver’s dollar store addiction:
“It can be scary going into Dollar General,” she says. “Have you ever been in one? One time a guy was trying to back his car over the clerk because she was taking picture of his license plate because he had shoplifted. That water’s worth it, but the people that are in there are the dregs of society.”
The thing is, when the dust settles, hulking centers like Indian Springs and Metcalf South will probably either getting pancaked or turned into ghost malls. That or developers and cities like Overland Park will throw good money after bad to reinvent them so they can again in 10 or 20 years.
All the while as consumers stumble from one cheesy buck bunker to another in search of cheap greetings, bargain dryer sheets and generic flavored waters.
What a country!