Residents say protests were factor in chain stores closing North - KMOV.com

Residents say protests were factor in chain stores closing North County locations

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Once occupied by a large chain store, this building now sits vacant. Once occupied by a large chain store, this building now sits vacant.
NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Chain stores including Toys R Us, Big Lots and Radio Shack have shut the doors on their West Florissant locations, a move which locals believe was influenced by protests last summer.

All of the big box stores which have closed were located within one quarter mile of each other, near West Florissant and on both sides of Interstate 270.

People who live in the area are concerned not only with the added difficulty for those without vehicles to shop, but also the loss of tax revenue from chain stores will hurt their community.

"It affects our neighborhoods, our property values. House values tend to go down when you lose a lot of these big chain stores," said Roxanna Nelson, who lives in the area. "The school districts, they suffer as well, because they don't have that revenue, that tax revenue which benefits the kids."

Corey Carter, who worked at the now-closed Toys R Us store when he was a teenager said the closures are also affecting employees and those searching for jobs.

"If you are a high school kid and trying to make money for the summer, it's going the be pretty hard to do that, especially if you don't have transportation to get there," said Carter.

Derrell Griffin, who has been looking for work, agreed with Carter. He said it has been hard for young men who live in the community to find jobs.

Some of the chains who closed their North County locations are making cutbacks across the country, like Radio Shack, but residents believe the protests over the past few months may have encouraged some of the stores to close.

"Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure it did. Definitely, definitely sure it did," said Mike Wuebbles, a resident. "People are probably scared to come to this area now. After what happened, they just look down on it."

All of the residents News 4 spoke to agreed that community leaders should step in to help, along with they community's citizens.

"Let's take care of our area, versus going out to another area to shop instead of spending money out there because we lose that revenue," said Nelson.

Carter suggested another approach lawmakers could try to bring businesses in the community.

"Offer some kind of tax break or something to keep them in the community instead of moving it out of the community," said Carter.
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