Borders announced Monday that it would have to proceed with liquidation because a buyer to get them out of bankruptcy had not emerged. On Thursday, the 40 year old Michigan-based company plans to ask a federal judge to appoint liquidation firms to oversee going-out-of business sales at the remaining 399 stores.
What does this mean for you as a city? What does this mean for you as an Economic Developer? How will this impact your economy? Borders closings are a prime example of why it is so important to be equipped with the right tools in your “toolbox” to take immediate productive action in such situations. Tools that allow you to know who your customers are, where your customers are living and what your customers are buying; tools that aid in local business retention and tools that allow you to benchmark yourself against successful other communities to see how you stack up.
When communities are at risk for losing their big box retailers, they have to step up to the table and play an active role in figuring out a way to fill tenant vacancies with viable alternatives. Cities like Kingsport, TN are positioned with tools and data that allow them the ability to quickly determine specific retailers that are sustainable options for their community and lead to more effective retail recruitment and retention.
For hundreds of cities that have already lost or will soon lose their Borders stores, a premium should be placed on data and research that leads towards rapidly executable insights. The shopping centers and business districts which these Borders stores once helped to anchor are too valuable to leave partially darkened for a prolonged period or poorly tenanted. Take the next proactive step towards bettering your retail environment.