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The Death of Retail

#hellofromnoco The retail industry as we know it is dead. There is no reason to beat around the bush about that. The days of going to the department store dressed in your best clothes to pick out anything from new clothes to a couch, to a mix-master are gone. I’m not going to lie; it probably had a lot to do with my generation and our “mall-rat” tendencies! I remember Saturday nights we would hang out at the mall, grab dinner at the food court,  see a movie, and go in and out of the stores thinking we were the coolest. We would spend our allowances on hair accessories, cheap makeup, or anything that was “cool” that moment. I purchased a lot of cucumber melon body spray, lip smackers, and body glitter! But times have changed. Amazon makes it so easy to order things and have delivered in two days or less! All at a lower price then most brick and mortar stores can sell it for. Other online retailers are lowering their minimum for free shipping and taking advantage of the push to order online. And my generation is taking full advantage of that. This is why Bon Ton is closing, why Toys ‘R’ Us went bankrupt, and why so many other smaller shops are failing all across the country.

So is the Showcase worried? Heck no! While they are watching all of their neighbors go out of business and close, and watching other stores fleeing the mall to go to downtown Massena to try and make a go at boosting their business, the Showcase is doing nothing but growing and expanding. What is the secret of their success? Unique items that can’t be bought anywhere else. Sure, you can buy a scarf online, but would it be hand-knit by a member of your community? No, I don’t think so! By supporting local vendors (the Showcase has over 100 in one place!), you are supporting the members of your community and the local economy. Buying that scarf from a big box store is making the “fat cats” sitting in a vast office hundreds of miles away richer and richer funding their trips to Saint-Tropez with their third wife. Buying a scarf and some jewelry from the showcase is helping a mother pay for dance lessons for her child or helping a neighbor pay their mortgage this month. The shopping you do at the Showcase is directly affecting your local economy.

You may think that your $10 purchase is a drop in the bucket. But a drop is all it takes to prime a pump. The efficiency of a small purchase is much like the capillary action of a paper towel absorbing the liquid. The economic structure of a community is like the woven fabric of a paper towel. Commerce interconnects people. The difference is, as money enters the fabric of economy, it actually creates more money. Say a woman has material to make clothes and she sells that clothing at the Showcase. The woman then brings back the cash from her sales to her family. She buys food and other essentials for her family. Money gets absorbed, spreads around, so more people have the cash to spend and invest in the area. Just like a small drop ripples in the water, a small purchase can have a tremendous impact on a local economy.

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