“the economy went into the dumpster” “Technology has taken over”: U.S. Retail/Banking/Service sector collapse, February 2017

Incomplete list of U.S. retail/banking/service sector job loss announcements and shutdowns made or announced in February 2017:

Alabama: Birmingham based Regions Bank shutting down 27 offices across the U.S. “based on traffic, volume, proximity of other branches, profitability, and other factors.”  After 40 years Jewels by Rose shutdown, the retiring owner revealed how her mother, the founder of the store, learned about jewelry: “She started learning about jewelry from her World Book Encyclopedia at home.”-Donna Jowers, current owner

Arkansas:  After 25 years Cheap Thrills thrift store shutdown with no explanation.

 California: Vernon based clothing retailer BCBG Max Azria Group finally revealed it must shutdown 120 brick-n-mortar stores across the United States. Having a website can’t stop clothier Nasty Gal from suddenly shutting down brick-n-mortar stores in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, 98 people laid off without warning.  Brisbane based bebe (aka Bebe Stores) shutting down 25 stores due to a sudden and unexpected crash in clothing sales (yes, they have a website).  Hat seller Valley CAPS shutting down its Stockton location, 34 jobs gone by mid-April. Clothier VF Outdoor shutting down its ops in Alameda, 52 jobs lost by mid-April. Parking lot and transportation service company SP Plus suddenly shutdown their Glendale operations, 84 jobs lost. LPL Financial issued a layoff WARN for its San Diego location, 133 jobs lost by mid-April!  In Pomona, after 83 years Coates Cyclery shutdown, the owner blamed his own suppliers for competing with him on the internet, and said bicycle service work doesn’t pay enough to keep them in business!

Connecticut: In Stamford, British empire based Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) issued yet another layoff WARN, ten jobs lost in April.  Retailer Benny’s suddenly shutdown one of its five locations in the state, local news media say the local retailer has been in business since 1924.  Consignment store Cedar Chest shutting down its Branford location in March, due to not being able to renew the lease.

Florida:   In Tampa, Powerhouse Gym shutdown its Channelside location, blaming rent increase and lawsuits. Law firm Binder&Binder shutdown its Tampa office, 75 jobs lost.  In Bradenton, after 67 years Pierro’s Jewelers shutting down as soon as the inventory is gone.

Georgia: Cartersville Jewelry Exchange shutdown three locations.  The owner is going back to running just one store saying “There’s more to life than money…”   In Columbus, after 74 years iconic five stories tall Raymond Rowe Furniture shutting down as soon as the inventory is gone.  Video Warehouse shutdown its Valdosta store.

Idaho: Burley based King’s Variety continues its slow death spiral, announcing it will continue shutting down stores.  King’s is down to just 19 stores across six states: “The retail climate has radically changed in the past decade….Brick and mortar stores need feet and faces to survive as we have salaries, rents and other costs to cover. Unfortunately for us that is not the current landscape.”

Illinois:  In Chicago, United Airlines WARNed it will layoff 3-hundred people starting in April, as part of its restructuring plan!  In Chicago, California based clothier GAP shutdown its store on North State Street.  State Farm insurance issued a layoff WARN for Bloomington, 78 jobs gone by the end of April.

Indiana: In Evansville, Combs Landscape and Nursery shutting down so the owner can focus on other projects.  In Indianapolis, after three years VeloWorks Urban Cyclery shutdown.

Kansas: Topeka based shoe seller Payless warned that it is in negotiations with creditors that could result in as many as 1-thousand store shutdowns!

Kentucky: Having a website can’t stop clothier Nasty Gal from shutting down its distribution center in Sheperdsville, 70 jobs lost in April.

Louisiana: After 70 years the Alexandria Golf & Country Club shutdown due to lack of dues paying members.

Maine: Dying Radio Shack shutdown a store in Bucksport.

Maryland: After 62 years La Plata TV & Appliance shutdown.  After 36 years Carpenter’s World of Music shutting down by April: “Ever since the economy went into the dumpster and the competition of the internet, it just hasn’t been fun.”-Ken Carpenter

Michigan: In Kalkaska, after 39 years Cornell’s Crossing Hallmark shutting down by the end of March.  The country’s largest retail christian chain store is now dead.  After 85 years Family Christian Stores shutting down all 240 stores, 3-thousand jobs lost by the end of April! Instead of blaming god, Family Christian Stores admin blamed their fellow christians for crashing sales!  In Kalamazoo, after 45 years Alfred E. Bike shutting down as soon as the inventory is auctioned off.  The auction is being held on the internet.  In Bay City, after 117 years (surviving The Great Depression) Utermalen’s Furniture shutdown, the owners say sales never recovered from the crash of 2008.

Minnesota: 56 years old Saint Paul based ‘outdoors’ store Gander Mountain began shutting down and liquidating stores across the U.S.  Local news media said company administrators are refusing to explain, or say how many stores will shutdown.

Missouri: What automotive industry recovery? In Frederickstown, Barrett Jensen shutdown after 20 years of vehicle sales, the property has been used to sell cars all the way back to The Great Depression. In Kansas City, after 51 years Swirk Jewelry shutdown, the owner lamented “There used to be a lot of family owned stores here. There used to be a drug store, grocery store here. Today there is very little of that still here. A lot of the restaurants are chain stores…..it’s just different.”  Grandview based U.S. Toys shutting down five of its remaining six brick-n-mortar stores in April, to focus on the internet: “Our retail stores have been impacted by the economy, and people shifted to online shopping…..It’s gotten to the point where from a profitability standpoint, it didn’t make sense to keep our [brick-n-mortar] stores anymore.”-Seth Freiden, CEO

Nebraska: In Columbus, J’s Hallmark gift store shutdown for “multiple reasons”.

New Jersey: In Mount Laurel, PHH Mortgage eliminating 33 jobs in March.  Wayne based Toys’R’Us suddenly eliminated 250 corporate jobs, blaming crashing sales!  In Brick, after 27 years Bob’s Video Time shutdown, the owners admitted they should’ve shutdown two years ago.

New York: In Vestal, after 46 seasons ski store Cliff House shutting down when the current ski season ends, the owner wants more time with his ill son.  In Gloversville, True Value Hardware shutting down, local news media says no details were released.  In Elmira, after eight years Hills,Valleys & Streams shutdown “due to lack of slaes” in the past two years.  The owners swore over and over to local news media that sales “were great” until two years ago.   In Potsdam, Misty Hollow arts & crafts shutting down by the end of April: “Times were different 25 years ago. That’s the bottom line.”-Karen G. Sidletsky, owner

North Carolina: Mooresville based home improvement retailer Lowes laid off 430 HQ employees and another 95 corporate ‘support’ employees elsewhere! This is on top of last month’s announced plan to kill 2-thousand 4-hundred full time jobs at stores and distribution centers across the United States!  In Winston-Salem, The Other Half gallery shutting down in March.  The Sanctuary of Davidson artisan gift store shutting down in March, not sure if you can blame the internet because loyal customers were notified by email.

Ohio: Maumee based agribusiness and farm retailer Andersons shutting down all four stores, laying off 920 people by the end of April!  It’s blamed on millions of U.S. dollars in losses over the past eight years.  In Geneva, after ten years pet store The Green Leash shutting down in March.  Your Home by Goldsteins Furniture shutting down a store in Boardman, the building is being sold.  In Madeiro, after ten years La Silhouette Lingerie shutdown.

Oregon: Happy Knits shutdown its brick-n-mortar store in Portland (Happy Knits has a website).  Clothier Lucy Activewear now dead after after being absorbed by troubled competitor The North Face. It’s unknown how many Lucy Activwear stores will be shutdown: “Just in the last eight years, the growth in competition has really been intense from a lot of brands….Our intention is to have them closed by the end of 2017 or very early 2018.”-Dawn Dzedy, Lucy Activewear

Pennsylvania: In Waynesboror, after 39 years Schier’s Furniture liquidating and shutting down, the owner says he can no longer compete.  After 27 years Polo Ralph Lauren shutdown its store in Philadelphia.  In Carlisle, after 43 years Midway Skating Center sold-off and shutting down due to “the high costs associated with maintaining such a large facility and the increasing pressure on young people’s time”.

South Carolina:  In Charleston, after six years upscale women’s clothier Rapport shutdown saying “We don’t have enough business to make it practical to continue to operate.”

Tennessee: In Chattanooga, after more than 25 years River City Bicycles shutdown blaming “the purchasing habits of today’s consumers”.

Texas: Despite a slight uptick in profits at the end of Gregorian year 2016, Plano based U.S. retail icon JCPenney says as many as 140 stores could be shutdown by May, and on top of those employees losing their jobs due to the shutdowns, apparently an additional 6-thousand employees will be offered voluntary buyouts (bribes to quit)!  In Plano, Forex Capital Markets eliminating 56 jobs in April, blaming federal regulators.  In Grapevine, Fidelity Investments laid off 98 people.    Seaway Bank & Trust failed, assets turned over to the State Bank of Texas.  In El Paso, after 13 years bowling alley Fiesta Lanes shutdown due to financial problems.  After years CC’s Discounts shutting down its store in Abilene. You shouldn’t blame the internet because after all they posted the following on social media: “The industry has become a market of great competition and increasing difficulties in meeting my obligations to employees and customers.”

Vermont: Decades old Brownsville General Store suddenly shutdown, a real estate agent revealed that store was out up for sale the month prior.

Virginia: In Blacksburg, after 14 years Mad Dog Boutique shutdown despite pleas from potential customers to stay open, the owner saying she can no longer compete.  God powerless to stop ‘his’  British empire based Salvation Army from shutting down its Waynseboro thrift store, due to lack of sales.  The Bristol Mall GameStop shutdown.  Clothier Misty Mountain Designs also shutdown its Bristol Mall location, the owner blames Sears: “The decision to close the mall location was made when Sears announced they were closing……I contacted management to find out if they had anything coming behind Sears …..it feels as though they’re considering the mall for another type of use.”-Sue Smith

Washington: Too Big to Jail Bank of America shutting down its Bremerton office in November.

Wisconsin: In Madison, after “90 wonderful years” Mallatt’s Pharmacy & Costumes shutdown.  Local news media reported that the pharmacy portion of the store actually ceased ops back in October.  The owner said he’s focusing on his Homecare Pharmacy operations.  In Milwaukee, Zita’s Bridal Salon shutting down by April, after 90 years of being one of the “most exclusive” women’s clothing stores in Wisconsin.  Jeri’s Hallmark in Valley View Mall shutdown.  In Wauwatosa, after almost 80 years The Map Store shutdown: “Technology has taken over……So much of our customers don’t need us anymore, they have a cell phone. Technology is devastating. It was a blessing for creating maps, but not for selling them.”-Jan Swain, owner

Retail/Banking/Service sector January 2017: “I DON’T SLEEP AT NIGHT, IT’S KILLING ME”


Dumbing Down the U.S., February 2017: OBAMA KILLS 200 COLLEGES!

U.S. Tech communications breakdown, February 2017: “REDUCE STAFF…BY 30%.”

U.S. Mining/Industry/Logistics layoffs, February 2017: “INVOLUNTARY SEPARATION PROGRAM”




WARN=Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification.

I found a 2010 AFL-CIO analysis (titled The Public Availability of WARN Notices: Lack of Accessibility and Disclosure…) which proves what I’ve been suspecting in my search of state WARN notices; most states are not complying with federal WARN regulations and are not publicizing or tracking mass layoffs.

Former employees who receive severance are not counted as unemployed!

Employees of religious non-profits might not qualify for unemployment assistance: “If the non-profit organization is a church, you may or may not be entitled to unemployment. It all depends upon state regulations for church employers. In many cases, churches are allowed to set their own rules regarding unemployment benefits, meaning the church can choose whether to offer benefits to former employees.”

The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) no longer issues mass layoff reports: “On March 1, 2013, President Obama ordered into effect the across-the- board spending cuts (commonly referred to as sequestration) required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, as amended. Under the order, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must cut its current budget by more than $30 million, 5 percent of the current 2013 appropriation, by September 30, 2013. In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs, including Mass Layoff Statistics, and all ‘measuring green jobs’ products. This news release is the final publication of monthly mass layoff survey data.”