We are saddened to read the news that Sears will close 26 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide, including its last full-size store in Alabama, located at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover.

It’s indicative of the trend toward online shopping that has devastated many large brick-and-mortar retailers of all types. Sears, an iconic American firm, has closed hundreds of stores in recent years, but has maintained a presence in several Alabama markets, including Dothan, with smaller “hometown stores.”

The trend likely has an impact on locally-owned retailers as well, which underscores the importance of the phrase “shop local.”

Shoppers may well benefit from economies of scale at the point of sale through online sites like Amazon, but there is a far greater benefit from patronizing local merchants, who are members of our community and whose livelihood provides local jobs and infuses our local economy.

Here’s a thought – why not browse online retailers to decide exactly what you want, and then visit a local retailer to make your purchase. Doing so will help make our economy robust.

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