continuing economic consequences

January 24, 2016

Weekend errands will occasionally include runs to the local pet store for pet supplies. Our dogs and cats are quite vocal when mealtime comes, so we make sure to have the basics on hand. Some of those food supplies used to come from Petco, where we purchase Royal Canin Puppy dry dog food for Annie the Doodle. Unfortunately, this Petco is going out of business. I spoke with one of the cashiers as we were checking out and was told that the store was being closed, not moved. Fortunately everyone there was offered a transfer to another Petco in the general area. But once this one is closed we’re going to have to find another store, however far away that is. I could (and have on occasion in the past) from Amazon, but I can only find the huge bags and when it’s delivered it’s always in a fairly crushed box, with the contents a bit worse for wear. I’d rather go purchase it locally and know what I’m getting before I pay.

This is the last major store in this shopping center. All the other stores have closed and moved out, such as this AT&T and Shoe Carnival…

… and this TJ Max. These stores were the secondary stores. The anchor store was a Super Target, which closed nearly four years ago in early 2012 and has stayed closed every since. I wrote about its closing in my old blog here.

Closed Super Target Exterior

These are not the only stores to close in this part of Orlando. On a section of West Colonial, starting at the intersection of West Colonial and Hiawassee and driving west, many big-box stores have closed and stayed closed since at least 2009. The economic devastation moves west down West Colonial and into West Oaks mall. I’ve written about this already on my older blog so just follow the link above and look at the economic stories. While other sections of Orlando have recovered somewhat, this section remains unrecovered and seems to be getting worse. Major stores such as Circuit City, Borders, Don Pablo’s, Sears, Ben Franklins… The list goes on an on. And no one is coming back into this area. It’s depressed and depressing, and the ongoing situation shows no end in sight.

This is the outcome of high energy costs, primarily gas. In my eyes it’s no accident that the high cost of gas corresponds with the decline of economic vitality all around Orlando, especially in this section. I also know there’ve been layoffs and cutbacks in salary for those who still have a job, whether by reductions in salary or by being cut from full to part time. For those people who once counted themselves as part of the middle class, it’s rough times indeed.

The area isn’t completely without commerce. Across the street from this out-of-business Super Target and soon-to-be-out-of-business Petco is a Sam’s Club, primarily for more well-to-do, mostly white shoppers. West down the road is a Lowes, across the street from where the Circuit City used to be. Just a mile further west from West Oaks on West Colonial is a Walmart Supercenter. But that still doesn’t hide the fact that more stores have closed than have opened or stayed open. It’s not a healthy economy, not by any stretch.