Left: MC Sports
I have lived through several significant economic recessions, so I am relatively familiar with the effects that a downturn can have on a local economy. What continues to surprise me, though, is the number of larger and higher profile retailers that have closed their doors in the area during the current recession.
I drove in a one-mile radius from my home with the intention of scouting out some of the most visible signs of recessionary business closings. One of the first places I noticed that recently closed was MC Sports, which had been the anchor of a midsized strip mall on Secor Road for many years. The store closed in mid-January after the holiday rush.
Our family was a fairly regular customer of MC Sports over the years, and I remember many trips to the store for the various accoutrements needed for the sports in which our children participated.
Left: S&K Menswear
Another casualty of the recession was the S&K Menswear location at Talmadge and Monroe. I recall purchasing a pair of suits there some years ago and receiving quality service, but frankly since I shifted from business to academia, I rarely wear a suit these days.
Funerals and weddings, I like to joke, are about the only time you will see me in a suit and tie.
S&K Menswear is currently working its way through bankruptcy court, and the closing of the Toledo store is part of a larger reorganization effort. Of course, that is not much consolation to the local folks whose lives were disrupted through the corporate downsizing.
Let's hope the pink-slipped employees all found gainful employment, or that they received some sort of severance to ease the shock of unexpected unemployment.
Left: Penzoil oil change outlet
To my way of thinking, auto service businesses might be as close to recession-proof as a business could get. When people stop buying new cars, they usually take better care of their current vehicles, and I assumed that this process would begin with changing the oil in cars.
Not so for the former Jiffy Lube on Secor at Monroe, which went by the name of Secor Quality until a few weeks ago. This seemed like an excellent location for an oil change business, located as it was in a busy Kroger shopping center, as well as being positioned at one of the busiest intersections in the city.
I am guessing that in the nearly two decades I lived in Toledo I must have visited this oil change business at least 75 times in its various incarnations. Yet today all that remains is an empty building littered with the detritus of a dead business.
There are many more closed businesses in and around Toledo these days, far too many for me to even list here. Yet unlike my previous experiences with recessions - where the closings were typically limited to marginal businesses that looked shaky before the slowdown - the current recession seems to be taking out some businesses that appeared to be thriving.
I just hope that this is the peak of the retraction, and that these higher-profile closings are not harbingers of a worsening decline.