Have you noticed a number of stores that have closed in your neighborhood or if they are still open, their prices are too high for the local residents to buy?

If you are an old school person like myself (over 50 ) this topic may have a different meaning to you than someone who is much younger. I say this is because when I was young if we needed to buy something from a store it was always close by. Additionally, we knew many of the store owners and they gave us jobs ahead of others because we were from the community.

As result, work was plentiful and if you were willing to work hard you could make enough money to get you by. You could buy that special pair of sneakers, school clothing and etc.  Many of my peers from the neighborhood worked at these local stores and I did as well.

However, when you are young you don’t think that money will run out so easily so you’re not as frugal on how to spend your money.  There were many days when I spent money unwisely on frivolous things and I’m sure that I was not the only one. We did so because we felt comfortable that we could go out and make more money at these establishments.  You can do so by working overtime, you can go to another store close by that pays more and etc. In other words, these local stores were good for the community.

As we move forward to today, stores which were known for hiring young people are closing their doors at an alarming rate as shopping online is the venue that is growing faster than ever. This means there are fewer opportunities for employment for the people in our neighborhoods for the youth. It also means the lower cost of the things that we were able to buy at these local stores have also disappeared.

It also has a negative impact on the group of retired people who worked part-time at these nearby stores because they didn’t have to travel far to get to work. These extra funds were helpful in coping with the rise in living expenses that the seniors in the neighborhood were experiencing.

For example, they no longer have stores like F.W.Woolworth, Circle City, Caldor’s, Bradley’s, Pathmark, A&P supermarket, Office Depot, K-Mart and there were a few others.  They have been replaced by the mega chain stores like Walmart, Costco, and BJ’s.

These large megastores have come in our neighborhoods and drop their prices so low that it forced the other businesses to close their doors as they couldn’t compete.  Once that was done, they would raise their prices to where it’s no longer affordable for the local residents. It’s a business model that looks good at the beginning for customers but the truth is, these chain stores kill the local economy.

In doing so, this is forcing many families who have limited financial resources to be in jeopardy of going broke as the new prices are too high. This is because many of today’s families don’t want to buy in bulk which the megastores offer in order to get the savings. You can’t buy one loaf a bread or one dozen of eggs you have to buy more than one, which many of the families don’t have.

As these local stores closed down, job opportunities for teenagers also went by the wayside. When I was younger I didn’t realize how important these stores helped the community to thrive. And their departure put financial pressure on the households that previously had teenagers working at these stores. This process had worked in the past for the families in the neighborhood as these job locations were within walking distance or a short bus ride.

What can you do you may ask?

You can focus on getting a job preferably at a medical office, a law firm, a health food store, or at Starbucks, but any company other than a retail business as those stores will eventually go away.

You can do good by mastering your subject material so that you can become a tutor at school as there are always parents looking for this service to help their children.

You can try learning a skill like plumbing, welding, electric work, and work as an intern in a company until you graduate and start to work full time.

And if you are a retired person, you have a better chance of finding employment today as companies are hiring older people to work part-time functions because they don’t have to paid benefits.

What we can’t do is stand by and do nothing.  As these economic changes unfold in our communities and our local neighborhoods, they’re not going to stop. The people who will make these adjustments in how they look for work going forward are the ones who won’t be left behind. I hope that after reading this article you won’t fall into that do nothing category as it a blueprint for failure. I started working locally early in life and it paid off for me. However, the disappearance of the local stores in our neighborhoods has changed significantly and you have to do the same to become successful.