The other week I wondered if Steve & Barry’s was paying rent to Carousel Mall, given that they were not known to be paying it hardly anywhere else. According to Bob Niedt’s latest column, rumor has it they are not. I had never been to a Steve & Barry’s so when I was at the mall recently I went down to the Commons level to check them out. The store was mostly empty of shoppers, but full of rather crappy “fashion” merchandise aimed at teens — sloganed T-shirts and the like. S&B’s may have been at the very pinnacle (or nadir?) of the current American “boom” which is turning out to be mostly hype and little substance.
And then there’s Starbucks, which is closing 600 installations and firing 12,000 workers. Starbucks won’t say where the closings will be. I wonder how long the Starbucks in the Fairmount Target will hold out. (For that matter, I wonder how long the Target will hold out — that parking lot looks mighty empty a lot of the time.) Guess I’d better hurry up and use the remaining dollars on my gift card, eh?
And then there is the auto industry. A Ford dealership in Cortland has abruptly shut its doors. A more interesting part of the oil story is that many states and localities are finding it hard to stretch the budget to do necessary road paving projects. The supreme irony may be that even if we all traded our SUV’s and F-250’s for Smart Cars and bicycles, our streets may soon be passable only by Hummers.