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Big Box Stores On Decline; One Local Expert Gives Insight as to Why

Over the past month, big box stores have announced they plan to close 1,500 stores. Peoria's American TV closed this past month. One local expert gives us insight as to why.


PEORIA - American TV, Radio Shack and now Staples are part of a growing trend.

These big box retailers recently announced they’re closing stores to target the online market.

One by one, the big box retailers are closing their doors.

“I think we will continue to see some reduction in the stores that aren't innovative and creative,” said Dr. Jason Garrett, Associate Dean of the Foster College of Business Administration at Bradley University.

In 2014 America TV, Radio Shack and Staples alone have announced they will shut down a combined 1,500 stores by 2015. Peoria’s own American TV announced they are going out of business just this past month. All of these retailers have one thing in common; they sell hi-tech products.

“Especially the technology related products that appeal dramatically to teens and 20-year olds. Those are going to be the first to have to make the adjustment,” continued Dr. Garrett.

One reason is buyers no longer need to help from a store expert. They learn what they need to know about their new gadgets online.

“They don’t need the same expertise we needed when making our decision to buy our first cell phone 20 or 30 years ago,” said Dr. Garrett.

But quality customer service is still important.

“The total experience that you are going to have while you shop is the big reason why people stay at stores,” believes Garrett.

Which might be why locally owned stores that sell similar products to the big box retailers survive. They are especially dependent on returning customers.

“Our business is completely dependent on repeat business. So I guess when that is your focus you tend to put a little more care into it. Our family and long-term employees are here and really try to do a good job for the customer. As I mentioned it's not really rocket science. You asked what our secret is. We get stuff to people fast. We take it back if they don't like it,” said Paul Sherman, owner of Sherman’s.

Proving modern technology can’t trump good ole’ fashion customer service.

From what we are told by the Staples in Pekin, they have not been informed whether or not they will be one of the 225 stores to be closed by the end of 2015.
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