Editiorial Graphic - Nittany Mall

Editor's note: This editorial was written by Daily Collegian features and investigations editor Jake Aferiat

After losing another store, the Nittany Mall could be in for a down year in 2020.

It was recently announced that Macy's in the Nittany Mall will close in the next 8-12 weeks, signifying the end of an era in more ways than one, with many more Macy's nationwide slated to close in 2020.

With the rise of online shopping services like Amazon — or even the respective sites of retail stores — it was a foregone conclusion that department stores would eventually fall by the wayside.

But this particular Macy's closing is more than just a department store ceasing operations.

It's important to realize that by virtue of being hours away from a city, having a store like Macy's increases access to relatively affordable, necessities from a well-known department store.

At their core, many department stores have helped provide shoppers with easy access to quality, affordable clothing, and Macy's was chief among them.

So for the people in the State College area who frequent the Nittany Mall and relied on Macy's for necessities, this is a loss that will be particularly hard.

And yes: the mall itself is still open, there are still many shops in the area and many can resort to Amazon and other sites to successfully shop online. 

But for the roughly6,000 Centre County residents without wired internet, having access to major department stores to shop at in person are a necessity.

There's also the sentimental aspect to Macy's closing: many people like visiting brick and mortar stores, especially those of certain generations who grew up only shopping at malls and department stores like Macy's.

Macy's was one of the first department stores to carry everything from clothes to tools to appliances, and with its competitor Sears also closing at the Nittany Mall in 2018, many have lost a staple to acquiring those goods.

The Macy's demise shouldn't be totally surprising though. It seems as though over the years, the Nittany Mall itself has failed to market itself to younger demographics, like young State College locals or college students, thus not capitalizing on a key group of potential consumers.

While malls have had merits for older people, it also provides younger people — many of whom are inherently sociable and enjoy being around others — with a space to congregate, talk, shop or relax.

Since the Nittany Mall has seemingly failed to capitalize on the potential mass appeal to younger people, it seems as though many in those generations might not be as distraught about Macy's closing.

At most malls, Macy's is an important store and on the surface, to some, it might seem like that's it.

But in an area where prominent department stores are hard to come by, and where many don't have internet access and just generally might not want to shop online, it makes it that much more important to remember the merits of stores like Macy's and the potential communities they serve.

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