Winnipeg shoppers that drive down south will unfortunately have one less store to visit.
The retail apocalypse continues in Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota. Longtime department store retailer Gordmans is closing their 55,000 square foot locations near the major malls of West Acres Fargo and Columbia Mall in Grand Forks.
Signs on the windows at both announced the closures and the discounts for stock till it is gone.
Both Fargo and Grand Forks have reeled from the multiple closures of stores that have probably had a bigger impact than in Winnipeg. The various vacancies in city malls north of the border are slowly filling save for CF Polo Park.
Shopping habits have changed dramatically for Americans as they use Amazon and others to receive deliveries at home. It has left malls coming up with ideas such as food halls to change the experience from one of shopping to recreation.
Still, the change in places like Grand Forks and Fargo are so fast and so big and undoing 40 years of retail experience that it has startled many. For many Winnipeggers who spent years in both malls and surrounding retail area it will come as a reminder that shopping trips to North Dakota are not as they were in the 1970 through the early 2000s.
Grand Forks and Fargo are great cities. They have other experiences that make them so but no lie that the death of retail there is as solid a threat to each city as annual spring flooding or even the big one that crippled them both. The question is: How will they re-build?
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations