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?

Office Depot
Office Depot

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.

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Hard Rock Cafe
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.

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Bally Total Fitness
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:

Bally closed
Closed up, with no notice. Thank you, Bally’s

There were over 8.000 members between the two locations, displacing a lot of people.

Bally front
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.

Who’s Next?

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.

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