• 32°

Closings are a loss of Americana

News broke earlier this week that Movie Gallery stores from Red Bay to Rogersville will shut down this summer.

The video rental chain, which has filed for bankruptcy protection twice, said it can no longer compete with online rental stores that can stream movies on demand or with the video kiosks becoming popular at retail stores and pharmacies.

For most of the towns losing the Movie Gallery franchises, the closings will leave the towns without a single video rental store.

I have little sympathy for Movie Gallery because they forced out several mom-and-pop stores before implementing a flawed business model that did not adapt to the times.

Thirty years ago there were some retail chains in most towns, but the majority of businesses were locally owned.

People went to retail stores for major purchases, but went to John Doe’s hardware store to buy a hammer. There was plenty of business to go around and everybody had a specialty.

Then somebody came up with the idea of one-stop shopping. The convenience offered became popular and soon the specialty shops began closing because they could not afford to compete as retail chains slashed prices to attract customers.

Some mom-and-pop operations were lucky enough to be bought out, but most had to lay off all employees and go out of business.

This did not create too many problems for larger cities, but it changed the landscape of small-town America forever.

Movie Gallery started small, but its business model led to vast expansion. After about a decade of success, the company got out Movie Galleried by the online video rental places.

My question is what is America coming too?

The mom-and-pops are gone thanks to large corporations and now those corporations are being replaced with a computer program and a few folks in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere — that is of course if you select to have the movies you rent mailed to your home instead of viewing them immediately on your computer.

This trend effects not only video stores, but several areas of corporate America.

People can purchase insurance online without ever having to speak to another person.

News stories used to revolve about how much money was spent on Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving. Now, there are as many stories about Cyber Monday — the Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend.

One of the things that made this country great was the people in communities worked hard not only for personal success, but for the success of the community as well.

Now that the retail landscape that bloomed during the industrial revolution and boomed in the 1900s is quickly fading as people prefer the convenience of Internet shopping to the hassle of taking time to go to the store.

It would be different if people were using the time they saved to work on bettering the world.

Unfortunately, they use it to sit on their couch and watch movies all night.

I doubt small-town America will ever recover.