Chain Retail Closures & Local Public Perception

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

They're hard not to miss, driving around town: empty shopping center space where national chains once stood.

"Where we're being impacted is nationally owned firms who, the local operation may actually be doing well, but overall, they're not doing well," said Bryan/ College Station Chamber of Commerce President Royce Hickman.

Retail giant Circuit City is closing doors all over the country, including here, in College Station. It and other closures mean job loss, but Hickman contends its not enough to shake our economy.

"The perception is probably greater than what the actual impact would be," said Hickman.

Can perception create reality? Can those driving by empty parking lots and boarded up buildings, misjudge the local economy?

"As we fight the perception that the economy is bad from what people are reading nationally, when they go by and see businesses closed, it makes it more difficult," said Hickman.

However, perception or not, according to Hickman the reality is that education, healthcare and government drive the economy here. Although some national chains may not be fairing well, there's a positive side to that too.

"Understand there's still a certain amount of demand up there and they were selling a certain amount of items. Those sales are going to go somewhere else now," said Hickman.

Despite some chain business closures, local unemployment in Bryan/ College Station, is at 4.1%. That's lower than the national average of 7.2%.

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