(SHELBY) – WITH AT LEAST 6 PRIME BUSINESSES CLOSING OR PLANNING TO CLOSE IN THE FIRST 7 MONTHS OF THIS YEAR, MANY PEOPLE ARE ASKING WHY AND WONDERING WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS COULD FILL THE GAP.

THE WHY’S ARE MANY.   SOME SAY ONLINE SHOPPING IS THE CULPRIT, BUT THAT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE A DIRECT CAUSE UNLESS WE SPECULATE THAT BECAUSE RURAL PEOPLE ARE BUYING GROCERIES ONLINE AND SO THEY’RE NOT COMING TO TOWN AT ALL.   ONE BUSINESS SIMPLY LOST THEIR BUILDING (FIELDSTONE) AND OTHERS WERE RETIREMENT AGE.

JB CHANDLER AT TEN PIN ALLEY SAID THERE WERE NUMEROUS REASONS THAT HE AND HIS WIFE WANTED OUT.  NUMBER ONE, THEY’RE NOT MECHANICALLY INCLINED AND MACHINES BREAKING DOWN WERE TAKING A LOT OF TIME TO REPAIR.  HE ALSO SAYS THAT KEEPING SKILLED EMPLOYEES HAS BEEN HARD, BUT HE TELLS US THAT A COUPLE WHO WANTED TO OPERATE THE ALLEY CAN “MAKE A GOOD LIVING.”

BY THE WAY, GOOD NEWS, THEY HAVE TRIED TO KEEP THE ALLEY OPEN SOMEHOW AND MERLIN FRYDENLUND HAS AGREED TO DO THAT, BUT TO BEGIN WITH JUST FOR LEAGUES.  AND THEY ARE HOPING TO KEEP THE CASINO OPEN IF THEY CAN FIND SOMEONE TO MANAGE IT.

MY POINT IS THAT EACH BUSINESS THAT MAY CLOSE IS UNIQUE AND IT DOESN’T ALL JUST BOIL DOWN TO “NOBODY’S SPENDING THEIR MONEY HERE.”

THE ROXY THEATRE IS ALSO A UNIQUE SITUATION WHERE MOVIES AREN’T THE DRAW THAT THEY ONCE WERE, UNLESS IT FALLS INTO THE MAJOR HIT CATEGORY.   ROXY OWNER, BECKY DUPUIS OF POLSON THEATRES, TOLD THE SHELBY PROMOTER THAT REPAIRS INTERNALLY AND THE STORE FRONT ARE MAJOR ISSUES WITH THE COST AND THEY SAY “THE ROXY HAS BEEN LOSING MONEY FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS.”

SHOPKO CLOSED RECENTLY BUT WE HEAR FROM QUALIFIED SOURCES OVER THE YEARS THAT SHOPKO, IN SHELBY, WAS PROFITABLE, THE COMPANY OVERALL WENT BANKRUPT.

SOME BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE AGED AND IT WAS JUST TIME FOR THEM TO GET OUT.

ALL OF THIS WAS SPURRED WHEN I POSTED THE QUESTION ON OUR KSEN WEBSITE, “WHAT ARE YOUR IDEAS FOR BUSINESSES THAT COULD FILL THE VOID IN THE EMPTY STORE FRONTS.    THE RESPONSE WAS REALLY QUITE GOOD.

ONE INDIVIDUAL JUST SIGHTED THE MANY NEEDS THAT LOCAL CONSUMERS HAVE SUCH AS OFFICE SUPPLIES WITH FIELDSTONE CLOSING, A MERCANTILE, HOUSEWARES, BOOKS, LINENS, TEX-MEX FOOD AT A CAFÉ OR ELECTRONICS.

ANOTHER PERSON SAID HOW ABOUT A HOME-MADE CANDY STORE WHICH ALSO SELLS ONLINE TO KEEP THE VOLUME UP.     IF THE ROXY WERE TO CLOSE, THERE WERE NUMEROUS IDEAS ON THE LINE OF USING IT FOR WEDDING’S  OR A MULTI-USE FACILITY FOR OLD MOVIES OR PLAYS……THEY COMMENTED “THE STAGE IS FANTASTIC.’

ANOTHER LISTENER SAID SHELBY COULD SUPPORT A BREWERY WITH GOOD FOOD, A BAKERY, FOR THE SECOND TIME, “A CANDY STORE,”  AN ESCAPE ROOM, TATTOO SHOP, OR A HOME REMODEL-HANDYMAN BUSINESS.

AND THERE WERE NUMEROUS OTHER IDEAS WITH ONE MAJOR THEME OF HAVING SOME TYPE OF LARGE BOX STORE LIKE WAL-MART OR COSTCO.  AND WHILE TO SOME THE IDEA COULD SEEM FAR-FETCHED, WE ALREADY MENTIONED THAT THE SHOPKO WAS PROFITABLE AND WITH OUR CROSSROADS LOCATION ON I-15 AND U-S-TWO AND MILLIONS GOING TO GLACIER NATIONAL PARK EVERY YEAR WHY COULDN’T WE SUPPORT A LARGE CHAIN STORE.

PROBABLY MY FAVORITE COMMENTS OF ALL WAS FROM THE YOUNG LADY WHO SAID, “IF THE HI-LINE COULD GET A COSTCO, THAT WOULD BE FREAKING AMAZING.”     SHOP LOCAL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!