PEORIA (WEEK) — In February, Sears will join the list of big name national stores to close their doors in Peoria. Business experts and area retailers says the Sears closure was not caused by local factors, rather it is part of a national shift in consumer behavior.
“Our community needs to make and continue to remake an active decision in shopping brick and mortar,” said RC Outfitters owner Adam White.
White says that while his store is staying afloat with their current business, the domination of web-based retailers poses a major threat. One of the reasons he says is because he and the other retailers did not see it coming.
“The dot coms have taken on a completely different shape than what the retail industry thought they would be,” said White.
However, Jeff Griffin with the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce says while consumers are turning to the online giants, it is similar to changes the country and the Peoria area has seen before.
“It’s no longer news that retail is changing, its going to change, in the 70’s we built these big malls, retail moved from downtown to big malls…so it’s changing again with internet so its going to continue to change and evolve,” said Griffin.
Adam White says he is doing exactly that, evolving to meet consumer demands that may not by the online giants.
“It’s looking at our apparel assortments, its broadening our footwear assortments, its making sure our training programs and the way we’re activating with Shazam racing, that running community, that health and wellness community,” said White.
CxT Roasting Company Owner Tristan Popadziuk says they have been able to grow their business by providing a unique product.
“We’ve put a lot of attention to detail in our coffee, when you come here you are not just drinking coffee, you are having a nice atmosphere, able to sit and chat,” said Popadziuk.