Without so much as a warning cry, the Lowe’s in Kenai closed its doors this week.
Shuttered, painted over and locked-up after consistently missing sales projections from the time it opened, the store left a community wondering.
Sure, businesses close all the time, but the sudden and unexpected nature seems to have whipped residents into a mixture of anger and concern.
Anger at a business for cutting off 79 residents’ paychecks on a day’s notice.
Concern about the conditions that caused the closure.
Were the store’s struggles a warning sign about our local economy, or simply the national recession reaching a tentacle down into what many consider a relatively safe and stable economy?
From the information we’ve gathered, it sounds like Lowe’s needed to cut a few stores to weather stormy national conditions and our outlet was on the chopping block.
One can wonder if the store picked the best time, location and conditions to open under, but what is most important here is that we set aside those questions and rally around those employees left on the curb.
Now, 79 of our neighbors are out of a job with the winter approaching. Let’s make sure we help them in any way that we can — communities half as strong as ours have done great things in hard times for those struggling to make it. Kenai should be no different.
Reach out, if you know someone affected by the closure, and offer what you can.
The closure should also be a reminder that shuttering a business should be the last resort for struggling establishments. There are a number of people, places and organizations set up to help sinking businesses meet their needs.
Think about our two chambers of commerce, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and Small Business Development Centers as well as your local governments and municipalities.
There are options and while they are not so much suited to look after a box store, they can certainly help with your smaller business.