Brick and mortar stores are floundering. Badly. Whether it’s a lack of adaptation to change or poor customer service, they are struggling. Let’s be reasonable. Not every store you see is red-lining or looking for government bailouts; however, an unprecedented number of stores are closing. Sears, (don’t panic, as far as I know, Indiana’s isn’t closing), is closing 300 stores, 128 Gamestop stores, 70 Coach stores are also closing, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Just because a company closes a brick and mortar store doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get their product. Companies are investing heavily in the online marketplace. Those online sales have an impact on our local and state taxes.
Think about this, Pennsylvania imposes a use tax to try and make up the deficit left by online sales. This particular tax is a self assessed tax on buyers of items bought out of state. So, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is struggling to collect the sales tax it needs to have a balanced budget.
What does all this mean? It means there are less jobs. It means less revenue for the building owners. It means less local taxes being collected from wages and sales. It means on an average a loss of about 30 jobs per closed store, depending on store size. It means a potential long-term financial hit to Indiana county or any county in the USA.
Indiana seems to be growing quite well by comparison. We just got a Super Shoe, a Salvation Army Thrift Store, a few new small businesses downtown and new stores and restaurants are on the way. This is great news that should be celebrated but what happens if you stop supporting these local businesses and start shopping primarily online?
The side effects of online stores have real life implications that can’t be ignored. I choose Indiana, PA over the mighty world wide web when I used to live there. To me at least, our local businesses create an integral framework that are the building blocks of this community. No one can live on Main St at World Wide Web, USA. Sterling Hills will never be located at Amazon Junction.
I’m not saying you should never shop online that’s unrealistic. We as a community need to remember that there are implications to making purchases over the internet. You need to support your neighbors, your friends, your local business owners, large and small.
Shopping is inevitable. Online is convenient. Shopping local is necessary. As I always say, “Use technology [shop online] but in moderation.”