Over the last twelve months, a number of divergent factors have combined to change the face of shopping in the city of Ontario, north central Ohio’s largest retail center.
In some cases, local stores and restaurants have fallen victim to chain-wide bankruptcies and closures; in others, there are signs of renewal, with some new faces joining the retail mix.
The so-called “retail apocalypse,” the closing of retailers facing dwindling sales in the face of the growth of ecommerce, has now been joined by the fact that many retailers were considered “nonessential” and therefore shuttered for weeks at the beginning of Ohio’s COVID-19 response.
Here is a quick review of several of those changes. This is, of course, a partial list.
First, signs of optimism:
AutoZone — The newly built store at the corner of West Fourth and Lexington-Springmill replaced the former long time home of Casual Male and Payless Shoes.
Charley’s Philly Steaks — In a surprise move, the former home of Charleys, which has sat vacant for some time, is reopening. The prime location on the northeast corner of West Fourth and Lexington-Springmill will become a …. Charley’s Philly Steaks again.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Panda Express, Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar — Try to find a spot to park at Ontario’s newest and busiest strip center! While the latter two estalishments are welcome additions, it was Five Guys that was a focus of recruitment efforts for years on social media. It worked. More information can be found here.
Logan’s Roadhouse — A COVID-timed closure has turned around after the chain was purchased and the new owner trimmed each local restaurant’s menu by one-fifth.
Burlington has reopened after a January fire; the story features a new layout according to this story.
And now for some disappointing news.
Sears, Richland Mall — Closed last October; see our story
Justice, Richland Mall — Closed this summer; see our story
Chuck E Cheese, Richland Mall — Closed this summer; see our story
Catherine’s — The plus size women’s retailer closed all stores nationwide after a bankruptcy filing, including that on West Fourth. This is a letter from Catherine’s CEO to their customers.
Staples – The office supply store shut its doors this past March; more information can be found here.