I’d like to say the recent announcement of the closing of Bergner’s Department Store in the Quincy Mall caught me by surprise, but it didn’t.  I’m not sure it caught anyone by surprise. J.C. Penney went earlier and it is only a matter of time before Sears follows.  The three major anchors of the Quincy Mall are down to one. These closures and pending closures are the direct result of people choosing to buy online instead of in person. What is lurking is unemployment for many in the retail business.

For many retail workers, their paychecks represented supplemental income for families meaning a loss of that income would directly affect their spending on eating out, attending movies and purchasing items they want instead of what they need. People will just eat out less and spend less overall on items like cars, TV’s and vacations.

This trend of buying online, basically endorsed by millennials, is not going to go away. So what can be done for this area? For communities to survive this retailer’s nightmare they must find a way to embrace it. One way to do that is to see how the process works and find a niche in the system. Once you find that niche, you then must capitalize on it.

Basically for online sales to function, there must be an order taken, an order filled at a warehouse, and a delivery made. So is there a niche there that this area can pursue to create employment opportunities for those unemployed retailers and others?  I think there is.

Companies like E-Bay and Amazon are growing leaps and bounds and have been building warehouses all over this country. Why not approach them and offer Quincy as a location for a new warehouse?  If it is happening, great. If not, then lets go after it. I know the challenges of locating in the State of Illinois are difficult, but we can’t use that excuse for not trying to lure them here.

Delivery companies like Fed-Ex, UPS and others are hiring everywhere just to keep up. Fed-Ex in Memphis is overloaded with shipments daily. Perhaps the city of Quincy should pursue offering our airport, which can handle any size aircraft in the world, and surrounding land area to make Quincy a "Fed-Ex-North" and lighten the load on Fed-Ex in Memphis. Let Quincy handle any shipments going to St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, Minneapolis, DeMoines, Omaha, and Kansas City.

This is not a new idea of mine. I made this suggestion years ago. It wasn’t really a priority then, but I think it is now.  How many more closures do we need to endure before it becomes too late and Quincy becomes a ghost town?  It’s time to make it happen!

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