In an age where everything from meals to furniture can be ordered and delivered to our doors by touching a few buttons on a cellphone and without ever leaving the comfort of the couch, Tuesday’s announcement that two Frankfort locations of national chains will be going out of business may not come as a surprise to many.
Pier 1 Imports, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, forcing the closure of nearly 450 stores, including the John Davis Drive location, is the latest national retailer to succumb to a trend known as “the retail apocalypse” that has been shuttering brick-and-mortar stores for years. O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar, which confirmed its Leonardwood Drive eatery will close for good on Sunday, is another national brand that's leaving Frankfort.
Two years ago, big-box department stores Kmart and Elder-Beerman left town after also filing for bankruptcy protection.
But the local business news isn’t all bleak.
Harbor Freight Tools, which had its grand opening last month, as well as Big Lots and Aldi, which plan to open in the spring, have risen from the location of the former Kmart.
With the awarding of Parcels B and C to a private developer with big plans, Downtown Frankfort is in the midst of shaping its future, which will include more restaurants and shops if the developer has his way. However, which retailers opt to fill the prime real estate remains up in the air.
Recent store closures are a result of both internal and external forces, and the problem is not specific to Frankfort.
While we certainly don’t condone online shopping, we also believe that we must face the repercussions that our purchasing decisions have on local businesses, regardless of whether they are national chains — like Pier 1 Imports and O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar — or mom-and-pop shops, such as Pic-Pac, which vacated its West Second Street location last year.
After all, it is our spending habits that dictate the future.