Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busted business

Linens 'n not so many things
London, ON, February 2009 [Click to embiggen]

About this photo: Thematic Photographic is exploring "busted" for the next week. And what's more busted than a busted business plan? Plenty of that going around these days, sadly. If you have any busted scenes in your mind's eye, please click here to get the ball rolling. I'd love to see what you've got!
The economic downturn isn't just a phenomenon of screaming headlines and intangible fear. It's physical, too, with scars left on the landscape in places you never thought would witness any form of retail distress.

This used to be the Linens 'n Things store in our burg. I noticed its floodlit emptiness about a month ago while driving home and did a double-take because the entire mall is barely three years old. New stores don't fail, do they? I snapped myself out of my idealistic reverie and made a mental note to return. It seemed so surreal that a formerly busy crossroads of suburbia could go so silent so suddenly. I don't know why, but in my world, cataloging failure counts as a valid photographic target of opportunity.

So there I was on a winter's night so cold that it would have induced spontaneous swearing had I been the type to actually swear. I asked my ever-understanding and oh-so-lovely wife if she minded a little detour. So while she patiently waited in the car, I shot fast before the cold claimed my fingers. In retrospect, I wonder if I needed to rush. It's not as if this scene is going to change anytime soon.

Your turn: Got any physical evidence of the downturn near you? Do tell.

One more thing: Caption This exploits my kid's image this week. But it's a happy kind of exploitation - one that'll make you smile. You know you want to...

Oops, make that two: I looked up LNT's old domain, and was redirected to the New Linens N Things. Call me a cynic, but if the old LNT didn't work out so well, what makes them think calling it "new" will make any difference in this economy?


Gary's third pottery blog said...

HEY, Hillary was just writing about you, thanks for the visit! My pal Aara is from London, ON, and isn't the ultra-heavy metal band Kittie??????????
You have a totally quality blog, gonna favorite it....

Anonymous said...

It will soon be replaced by the new chain store,Zombies-N-Things.
There will be no need for lighting or heat or any other amenities that humans require.
Zombies-N-Things will be profitable because of their low overhead. And the Zombie staff do not need breaks or an eight hour day. They will work without complaint as long as they have a fresh supply of brains.
Zombies love brains!!

P.S. they will supply the same level of vacant eyed apathetic service as Wal-Mart employees.

Sam Walton

Cloudia said...

"It seemed so surreal that a formerly busy crossroads of suburbia could go so silent so suddenly."

things ARE slower and tougher, but I find that my fear (for us all)is leavened with a potent hope.

Did you meet our president Barack today, Carmi? Aloha

Mojo said...

empty retail spaces are really nothing new around here, but I think the reason is more about having too much retail space and not enough tenants to fill it. The area has really become overbuilt in the last 10 years which sets it up for growth, but there's a lot of money tied up in a lot of empty storefronts. And then there are the locations that simply seem to be blighted no matter the state of the economy. there seem to be some places that can't keep a tenant no matter what.

The Linens 'n' Things near me folded its tents a while back, but the last time I was out that way they were still running their "Going Out Of Business Sale". I haven't looked lately to see if the doors have been locked yet.

Plenty of places are closing their doors around here, but somehow the feeling isn't one of calamity in the retail environment. There seems to be an overall slowdown in business most places I go lately though, so it could be that a number of these places are clinging by a thread.

And can I just say I love your wife. Neither of my ex-wives would have dealt with a frozen detour to shoot an empty store like that. Not a chance. She's a keeper Carmi. A definite keeper.

Linda S. Socha said...

Your blog is well written and it has a punch that I like. Thank you. Stop by Psyche Connections and say hello. I enjoy connecting with folks with opinions

Tanna said...

I walked through our LNT the last week it was open. It was disturbing... like a carcass buzzards had picked to bone. Made me sad to see. Now, the Circuit City (which isn't so sad to me since I never went there) is going through the same process. I see this as a sort of implosion. When the ground level (a business) goes, so much falls with it... peoples' livelihoods... homes, groceries, utilities... Hopefully, when the dust has cleared, whatever emerges will have solid business and ethical practices and we will be better for it.

Mental P Mama said...

I am loving this theme, and I wonder what that says about me....I also loved the serendipitous Bar Mitzvah story;)

Pamela said...

five restaurants closed in January.
I'll miss one of them. I didn't patronize the others.
It must be my fault. Haven't been eating out much since I quit my job.

Unknown said...

the squirrels and blue jays are eating their peanuts more slowly, savoring each bite. Other than that things are fine. Work on the tree house will resume in the spring.
Divine friendship is in the air (better than love).

Sleepypete said...

I like Anonymous's idea of ZombiesNThings :-)

Seeing a few signs of the recession around here. The plainest that I see is the Zavvi store in our Mall. Although the 2 in Bristol City Centre still look ok, the one in the Mall has almost been gutted of stock. Strange, as the Mall one is the easiest to get to.

I don't see it as much with the work I do, as I'm mostly involved with Bespoke Long Term projects and we haven't been told to make cutbacks (yet). But I see it more when talking to my dad, who works in a company that supplies to the automotive industry ... That whole industry sector is having hard times.

Will have to see how long this current cycle lasts - people Will start buying things again, we like Shiny Things too much and it doesn't take long for stuff we've bought to go Non-Shiny.

Netchick sent me (this time!)

PS Need to break my pooter chair again so I can get a "Busted" picture ! Last one I took ended up too fuzzy to post ...

Bobkat said...

I guess they figure that people will always need linen and things and it was the way they ran things that contributed to going bust and not the turnover (even if that drops).

Still, you got a very moody shot there worthy of a John Carpenter film!

I hope your family are well on the road to full health again after their nasty bugs.

photowannabe said...

It seems every shopping mall has so many going out of business sales and then poof they are gone. its scary and so sad.

Carli N. Wendell said...

Carmi, I think this article will explain the "new" Linens 'N Things. Basically, the name was acquired and will be used to launch a shopping Web site and to sell "LNT" branded items in other stores.

The death of LNT was a long time coming. There was one in the shopping center next to Target, and just about anything you could get at LNT, you could get at Target for less money. (That, and you could also do most of your other shopping at Target.) LNT's prices were ridiculous and their inventory unimpressive. I'm sorry that people lost their jobs, but the store was positively useless.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

There's a lot of busted businesses around here at the moment and it seems to be getting worse!

Anonymous said...

I've seen some empty stores and yes LNT is gone and Circuit City is out soon. But on any given day the restaurant lots and dining rooms and shopping center lots are filled to the brim and traffic is just as awful as ever, possibly I don't know what everyone is doing if they aren't eating and shopping. I live in area of wall to wall shopping anyway which was absurd to begin with. Everywhere you looked a couple of years ago there was a new strip mall or shopping center going was ridiculous and I think looking back it was very unrealistic to have so much shopping saturating such small areas.

The impact doesn't seem quite so bad where I live I suppose. I know just a few people who were out of work but found gainful new employment in just a few weeks while I know people who, lets say have had a long a history of bouncing from job to job every couple of years and in some cases only months, who are not having quite so easy. But they were the types who work a while then collect benefits for a while then work a while then collect and so on...It was their way of life.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I agree with Carli...LNT and Bed Bath and Beyond are/were worthless and unimpressive. I think I maybe shopped in them a handful of times in my life and was never impressed.

Anonymous said...

It' s positively eerie.

Here's a shot (#2) I asked Joe to turn abound for last week on our drive to Roanoke and even though we were running late. Do you think it was worth it?

ConverseMomma said...

As two teachers with two toddlers living on Long Island, my husband and I fear for our jobs everyday. It seems education is one of those first places cut. Makes sense, right? Who needs to be educated when there are not going to be any jobs left for you to apply for when you get out of school anyway.

Great Shot!