Rockwall – Retail Business Changes On The Horizon

A recent survey mailed to residents of the City of Rockwall asked what businesses our people wish to have along Interstate 30 highway. At some time in the near future, look for exit signs like these below.

changes-ahead-i-30-corridor1

Retail Stores

Blue Ribbon News: City of Rockwall seeks resident input for I-30 corridor expansion 

Perhaps a better question is, what businesses will remain along the I-30 corridor through Rockwall?

The U.S. economy is undergoing a major shift akin the Industrial RevolutionThe Internet of Things (IoT).

Forbes: These 21 Retailers Are Closing 3,591 Stores — Who Is Next?

The above article was published March 20, 2017. Across the country, ‘big box’ and small retail stores are closing. In fact, the Sears (Sears and Roebuck) company revealed substantial doubt about its ability to stay in business in an annual report filed March 21, 2017.

Sears is by no means alone in shuttering its stores. Macy’s, Sports Authority, and Radio Shack are among declining retailers. Wal-Mart isn’t far behind, by the way.

U.S. population continues to grow, so it’s not a matter of population decline affecting retail businesses. We continue to eat to our heart’s content, enjoy vacations abroad, and buy new homes and cars. Where go the customers?

On-line sales now dominate the marketplace and Amazon.com leads the pack.

Investors Business Daily: Retailers Face 2017 ‘Reckoning,’ More ‘Sad Malls’ As Amazon Keeps Booming

Sears and Montgomery Ward preceded Amazon. Something, a new marketing, and a new delivery experience will make Amazon.com obsolete.

There is no reason to panic (unless you work for one of the ‘big box’ stores.

Change is the one true constant in life.change is the only constant
Wall Street Journal: Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Shuttering at a Record Pace

There is no reason to believe that this will abate at any point in the foreseeable future,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies [at] Columbia Business School and a former executive at Sears Canada Inc. and other department stores.

What I See Ahead

Big-box stores will be much fewer. In their places, newer and smaller businesses will set up shop, partitioning the former store occupant’s space.

I expect to see small showroom stores that allow a prospective customer to see and touch products that will be ordered on-line and delivered to the customer’s home or place of business.

What do I want to see along the Rockwall I-30 corridor? I want a thriving retail environment unhampered by idealistic urban planners whose burdensome designs and regulations cause business owners and investors to go elsewhere.

While shopping for a birthday gift for my daughter yesterday (22 Apr. 2017), my inability to read store signs hidden from view by trees greatly irritated me. A former city councilman, an honest-to-goodness progressive, said signs are unnecessary because we have the internet.

By no means do I want the dead shopping mall syndrome to overtake Rockwall.

Can’t happen here, you say? Really? Allow me to take you on a tour of dead shopping malls across the great state of Texas. Reference DeadMalls.com 

Home Depot and Lowe’s big-box stores have a large inventory of stuff, but I find the local Ace Hardware Store to likely stock specialty hardware of all kinds than do the big-box stores.

I remember hearing it said that Home Depot would put Ace Hardware out of business. If anything, Ace is busier now than ever.

All the above is not meant as doom-and-gloom, but to draw your attention to the inevitable changes that will come to our city.

Unfortunately, I sense the next Rockwall City Council will move toward the progressive left with unrealistic urban planning and more onerous governmental regulations.

Why?

Because our residents are unwilling to take the time to participate, to learn how government works. Progressive activists will take control of city government. As government gets bigger the cost of government will also greatly rise. Liberty is inversely proportional to the size of government. As government becomes larger, our liberties diminish.

I expect unbridled housing construction to introduce huge challenges to water resources.

The Rockwall Open Spaces people work to preserve green spaces, nature trails, and recreational areas in the rest of Rockwall County but when money talks, landowners will sell to the highest bidder.  And, you can be sure there will be fierce competition from developers of homesites and apartment complexes. I-30 is the draw.

I’ll be addressing transportation issues in another blog.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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