The closing of Fred’s dollar store in McComb is a loss to the local economy and part of a national trend, according to the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s executive director.
But it shouldn’t be taken as a sign of impending doom, either, she said.
“Fred’s is suffering as part of what’s being called the retail apocalypse,” said chamber director Catherine Sanders. “This retail apocalypse is being attributed to the explosion of e-commerce traffic.”
She noted that other retailers are suffering the same fate, and already closed the doors of their stores in McComb and elsewhere, including Sears, J.C. Penney, Payless and Radio Shack.
“This (Fred’s) closing is not unique to us in Pike County,” Sanders said.
As Fred’s has been part of the McComb landscape for many years, Sanders said she has fond memories of the store through her life.
“This is very sad and sentimental to me,” she said. “Not only have we shopped there for many years, but the parking lot was the hangout on weekend nights when I was a teenager.”
Despite the pain caused to the local economy by such a loss, Sanders said there are still bright spots in the McComb retail scene.
She cited Foot Locker, The Children’s Place and Dollar Tree as chain stores with good prospects in the city.
“While these chains are closing in other areas of the country, they are still open in Pike County and sales are good, according to my sources,” she said.
She said two of the newer chain outposts in McComb, Marshalls and Hobby Lobby, are also performing well in the local market.
To keep businesses like these open and bring more into the city, she said local residents and consumers need to do their part.
“While it is sad to see a business in our town close, we must do our part and shop locally as much as possible,” Sanders said.
“It is easy to click on your computer and order what you need, but if we want our town to thrive, we must support our local businesses.”
She said $48 of every $100 spent at a local independent store stays in the community, while a local chain store keeps $14 in town and an online retailer returns just $1 to the community.