LOVE has noted that stores are closing in Oro Valley. Empty storefronts are not just an Oro Valley problem. It's a nationwide problem. There are lots of reasons for it.
Recent Oro Valley retail store closings, like the closing of Platinum Fitness in April, or now the closing of the Alfonso's Olive Oil and Balsamic store, Rigazzi's and a cleaners in the Trader Joe's Mall are gaining attention on Nextdoor.com.
Nextdoor.com readers speculate on the causes
The originator of the posting (see panel) suggested that the council get involved in retaining business. Others responded, citing host of reasons why stores close including:
- The seasonal transient nature of some Oro Valley residents
- High lease rates (which was the cause of the closing of Platinum Fitness)
- Oro Valley's higher than competing communities sales tax rate
- The rise of online shopping
It's far too easy to point to outside forces causing a retail business to fail. Our experience in working with retailers for 60 plus years has taught us that there are really six possible causes of a store's failure. Any one or a combination of these can do a store in!
- There wasn't a market for the product the retailer sells in first place;
- The store is just another "me too" business;
- Poor location;
- The retailer failed to bring sufficient capital to weather the startup time it takes to get a business established;
- The economic formula for making the business a success just wasn't there. For example, if the rent is going to be too much in relation to the business that will be done then the store is simply not financially feasible; and
- Store management simply did not know how to operate the store efficiently. For example, they buy too much inventory or too much of the wrong inventory. So, they have to mark down the product to get rid of it or customers walk out because what they want isn't there.
Some Nextdoor.com commenters suggested that the town council do something to fix this problem. The only factor that the council controls is the sales tax. Reducing the sales tax is hard to do until the council fixes the hemorrhaging losses of the town owned country club community center. We will learn more about the options and the possible financial impact of them at tomorrow's regular council meeting.
More real Oro Valley jobs paying real wages can pave the way to retail store success
The hope for Oro Valley is that Oro Valley Economic Development Director JJ Johnston's five year comprehensive economic development strategy will work. As we have previously written, it calls for bringing in non retail businesses to bolster real employment in our community. The UA Veterinary School is an example of this. Once the town has more "real jobs that pay real wages" the town will have more people working here full-time who will need and who will visit retail stores.