The Old Navy store at Southtown Center will close when its lease is up at the end of the month.

Anderson took a hit last week when three retail businesses either announced they were closing or closed. Old Navy and Blockbuster will close their doors soon, while Dunkin’ Donuts has already shut down.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened two locations a couple of years ago. It didn’t take long for the Scatterfield Road location to shut down, now the one at 14th and Jackson streets is closed. It’s probably no secret that McDonald’s, which is right across the street, had something to do with the demise of Dunkin’. McDonald’s began expanding its coffee selections after Dunkin’ arrived.

It was probably not a good location for the doughnut shop, which seemingly wanted to compete with McDonald’s head-on or, perhaps, capitalize on the traffic generated by the McDonald’s.

Blockbuster has been closing shops all across the country. All of them recently closed in Muncie. Not as many people rent movies anymore. It’s too easy to get them from Red Box or from the Internet, which also killed the record store and is now giving convulsions to bookstores. Border’s Books will be closing 200 of its 600 locations including six in the state.

Also contributing to Blockbuster’s downfall was on-demand television, which satellite and cable companies offer. Newly released films on DVD can be purchased at home. What could be easier? And what could be more detrimental to a business?

Old Navy’s closure follows one in Muncie last year. Unlike doughnuts and DVDs, however, clothes are needed by everyone, but not everyone buys them in Anderson.

According to Linda Dawson, the city’s economic development director, the lure of Exit 10, the Hamilton Town Center, keeps Anderson shoppers on the short drive down Interstate 69. The Old Navy at Exit 10 hurt the one in Anderson. Plus, Exit 10 offers many shops and restaurants for customers.

It’s a bad situation for Anderson because the city needs to rebuild a declining retail base. We pointed out this need on the west side. Now the problem is spreading.

It’s going to take more than shops opening up, however. Anderson consumers must use them. It’s the only way local businesses and outlets will survive.

It comes down to use it or lose it and right now Anderson is losing too much. Everyone needs to make a concerted effort to turn that around.

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