National chain stores seem to be disappearing from Terre Haute. K-Mart is gone, Gander Mountain and HHGregg are on the way to closing. There are others, but it may not be time to hit the panic button.
Going out of business signs are used to entice shoppers to stores, and while the signs may attract bargain hunters, they also send a troubling message.
“Am I upset? Yeah, HHGregg has been here a long time, and I know people who were personally effected by the loss of HHGregg, but it’s a changing business environment and we have to change with it,” said Pete Wilson.
Local smoke shop owner Wilson says residents shouldn’t be scared. “We have local retailers. My business is a good example. We weathered the storm of online retailing and we have been able to adapt.”
David Haynes, President of the the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce sees an upside. “I think it provides opportunity for our smaller businesses. I think every small business owner has a level of optimism, they have a passion for what they do, and they know what their customers or consumers want.”
Haynes also says Terre Haute features retail alternatives. One example is Top Guns as an alternative to Gander Mountain. The local gun shop has moved into a bigger space, creating a draw to the community.
“They have a passion for what they do. I happened by there this weekend, and the parking lot was full. So, yes that is an indicator that maybe a small locally owned operation just has something more to offer,” said Haynes.