Yesterday I wrote about the closing of Younkers and while the loss of another retail outlet may not mean much for consumers who have the internet or other options, a reader shared some reflections on what it means for those who saw the store in a different light:
What does a retailer of 50 years leave behind besides an empty storefront? What’s their legacy?
— It has employed thousands of people and taught many of them the value of hard work, maybe gave them their first supervisory experience and made them great in a role outside of retail. Many former employees are now leaders in other organizations within the community, using skills they learned from their work at Younkers.
— It leaves many employees who have worked there for years wondering “what’s next”?
— It leaves former employees feeling nostalgic. People met friends and mentors there and remember the days when it was great and yellow dot and coupon exclusions didn’t consume the department. Previous employees speak of a sense of belonging to something that was prestigious and special. Granted, they also remember late nights of inventory, chasing bats out of the store and watching shoplifters in awe, but overall most saw it as a wonderful place and are sad that all those good things are gone.
— Nonprofits also will miss the store and the programs that provided funding through their events like Community Days.
And what will replace it? Not just to fill the square footage that is vacant in the mall, but can anything come close to what used to be? Even if things were how they were “way back when”, would customers still want that in this day and age?
So the mall has not only lost a major tenant but more importantly, our community (and many others with BonTon outlets) has lost a leadership factory, a community partner, a networking hub and major employer. People don’t think about that when they buy with one-click on Amazon but there is a price to be paid for everything.
Thanks for the perspective, Amy!