Closing Up Shop
No, not this blog. I’ll never close this place down [even if I’ve only been posting twice a week] However, there are some places here in town that are shutting their doors. Casualties of the economy. So who’s closing down?
It was announced last week, that Office Depot would close 112 under-performing stores, two of which are here in Salt Lake City, which both have only been open less than three years.
I don’t shop much at Office Depot, mostly due to the fact that all of their good deals require mail-in rebates. I hate mail-in rebates. In fact, most rebates are a joke. I understand why some places offer them [increase profits when people don’t redeem their rebates on time], but given how many times in the past I’ve never received a rebate [even when I filled everything out exactly, without omissions or errors], I do my best to avoid any products that have a rebate attached to them. I do frequent Office Depot several times a year to stock up on paper, pens, a good sale where the item has no rebate and just to look around.
I guess this means if most people were like me, then these two under-performing stores couldn’t make it on just sales of copy paper and pens. Sad to see this store go, but there’s an Office Max just down the road that gets some of my business the rest of the year.
Hard Rock Cafe
Back in August, Dave from Blogography and myself met up for Dave Lake City 2 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Salt Lake City.
Just three months later, the Hard Rock Cafe would close, ending it’s last day of business on December 7th. I found out about it on December 9th, while downtown with my daughter doing some filming.
While I know times are tough, it’s sad that we lost an icon here in Utah. An establishment that made us a real city [Or at least having a cool place like other big cities have]. There was no fan-fare, no article in the paper… nothing. Just an empty place where rock memorabilia once was and a memory of Dave Lake City 2 now remains. Hard Rock of Salt Lake, you will be missed.
Bally Total Fitness
This closure has affected me the most. Back in October, I started a workout program to help get myself in shape. I was just 18 months into my 36-month gym membership when Bally’s decided to close both Utah locations. Going up to the doors on Wednesday December 10th, gym members were greeted with this notice posted on the door:
Closed up, with no notice. Thank you, Bally’s
There were over 8.000 members between the two locations, displacing a lot of people.
Competing gyms wasted no time, plastering their offers on Bally’s front doors
And while there were many other gyms that stepped up offering membership at their establishments [most offering Bally’s members to work out for free for the rest of December], it’s just another casualty of a downturned economy. Bally’s did file for bankruptcy at the start of the month, but the company claims that was not the reason for shutting down 19 locations nationwide. I have my suspicions.
As for the rest of my gym membership money that I had prepaid, I was able to easily get a pro-rated refund, which I will put towards another gym membership. But I liked Bally’s and will miss them, regardless of what gym I end up joining.
While I’m hoping that other businesses can survive, there’s no guarantee that this is the last of the closures of long term established companies. I guess we’ll see who the survivors are over the next several months and years.
That’s the crappy thing about Hard Rock closures… no notice. Four times cafes have closed that I would have gladly traveled to had I known they were going to close. You’d think they’d have a blow-out party and clear out the merchandise, but no. They’d rather piss off true fans that won’t get a chance to visit a cafe before it’s gone forever.
You scared me for a moment…I thought “Closing Up Shop” meant you were closing up Banal Leakage! I thought I was gonna have to hunt you down! 🙂
dave2 – I know you’ve talked about previous HRC closings before… no notice, nothing. Guess they really don’t care about us true fans when it’s closing down a location. We’ll have to pick a different place for Dave Lake City 3.
ginger – Didn’t mean to scare…. it was a catchy title. Plus I didn’t want a Ginger Snap hunting me down. 🙂
Shame about the Hard Rock. I do keep wondering about the one here in Phoenix. I went in there yesterday at lunchtime and it was empty. That’s not a good sign 😉
I keep wondering with all of these big box retailers and corporations shutting down, will small mom-and-pop stores make a resurgence when (if) things get better? I hope so.
OK, so maybe I’m going to come off as a snot by saying this, but is it bad to see the closure of poorly run businesses? I mean, I can’t exactly say Bally’s is the nicest of gyms. And my guess is over the years, they spread themselves entirely too thin. I know displacing good people is no fun, but personally, I’m not sorry to see businesses take a close look at their strategies and adjust accordingly. And is the Hard Rock really an icon? If so, what does that say about our country?
>end bitchy rant<
kevin – Empty eating establishments during lunch is never a good sign.
brandon – I really hope so. I would love to see more mom-and-pop shops spring up and back to life. I try to support them when I can (not too many single owner office supply stores around anymore)
nilsa – A badly run business closing up is pretty much expected. I think something like an Office Depot that expands too quickly then closing a number of locations could be deemed as badly run. As for Bally’s I have to agree that they’ve been run badly for some time. This is their 2nd bankruptcy in under 3 years. Plus there were a lot of signs that the gyms were being run on a shoestring (broken equipment that never got fixed). As for the icon status of Hard Rock, it’s in retail only and mostly as a place that people visit when they travel to various locations.
Marty the tell tale sign that Bally’s had issues was when you found out my old neighbor Pat worked there… LOL…
I would like to think that Brandon is right with a resurgence in locally owned businesses. it would be nice if they also sold locally produced goods. Rather than the same stupid shit you buy at Walmart just marked up by 10% to cover the costs of not being able to buy everything in lots of 10 billion. I am not sure exactly how that would work out though logistically. So many of the older shops have been shut down and bulldozed in order to make room for megastores, that if there is a resurgence there would be a shortage of small retail spaces in a large enough supply to support the multiple neighborhoods the megastores now supply.
Where I live in Sandy there are not really any small local retailers, mostly everything is a chain of some sort or another. Certainly not much in walking distance of my house.
Our closest Office Max shut down eight year ago or so. It was a huge store with a football-stadium sized parking lot that never had more than a few cars in it (the few times I was there). I always wondered how they could afford to keep the place open — obviously they couldn’t. And what led them to think a store that size should be where they put it?
We have several Staples, Office Depots and something else — maybe a smaller Office Max — not too far away. I think they’ve all gone up since the huge Office Max closed up. And they’re more mid-sized than monstrous.
kris – Oh yeah… so that’s why it shut down. I understand it all now.
I agree that the big box stores have taken over in way too many places. Brandon is right in that locally owned shops need to make a come back. Hopefully, there’s a few left still that have enough capital to make it for the long term. Sandy has gotten way too mainstream and has lost their focus on local businesses.
delmer – Those giant office supply stores never work, regardless what market they are in. Smaller and more medium size stores are better suited to withstand a tough economy.
I hear even Best Buy is in trouble now.
As for Bally’s, this is the second time in 18 months they’ve applied for bankruptcy protection.
kapgar – That true. Just read that story the other day about them offering almost all of their corporate staff early buyouts. And I didn’t even mention Circuit City above or any of the banks, for that matter (which is old news anyway). So it was 18 months… even sooner than the 3 years I mentioned above. Sheesh! No wonder they are hurting.
Wow, I didn’t realize all of those places were doing so badly! I am happy you were able to find another gym.
kilax – It’s a true downward spiral. And another workout update is coming soon.