LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Gander Mountain and Gordmans recently announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and both retailers have stores located in the Lafayette Pavilion. Neither company is slated to close their doors in Lafayette just yet. But if they do down the road, it could have an economic impact.
Gander Mountain and Gordmans say their bankruptcy moves are part of a “restructuring process.”
Richard Feinberg, interim department head at Purdue’s Department of Consumer Science, says if the doors do close down the road, it could affect the local economy.
“It also affects the stores around the stores that close,” he said. “The area does not attract as many consumers, so the sales of the surrounding stores decline also.”
Feinberg says the loss of jobs could add injury to insult.
“It’s a very short term significant economic issue for people who have to find new jobs,” Feinberg said. “And if you’re not working, then you can’t spend money in the remaining department stores and retail stores. So it’s pretty dramatic.”
Last week, Indianapolis-based HHGregg also filed for Chapter 11 and announced the closing of 88 stores. None of the company’s Indiana stores will be affected.
Feinberg says the rise of online retailers can be attributed to the decline of these big box stores.
“Ten, 11 percent of all retail sales now are with the Internet. Sixty percent of that is Amazon, so Amazon is just competing with every retail store in our community,” he said. “And the stores have not found a way to deal with that competition.”
Some residents say if those stores do close down, it could be detrimental.
“I definitely think Lafayette is a place with a lot of local people, local businesses,” Purdue student Kayleigh Zeeff said. “So if two big retailers close, that’s really going to draw business away from the smaller businesses that are here and the smaller companies.”
Lafayette resident Dewanda Allen said, “It will impact us because where do we go for the products that we’re looking for? Gordmans is a reasonable store and Gander Mountain is one. And it will impact Lafayette severely.”
Gander has plans to close 32 stores nationwide, this includes its Greenfield and Merrillville stores in Indiana.
Gordmans says until further notice, “all stores will operate as normal.”