Clark County officials: Target faced multiple hurdles

Target’s recent decision to close its local store is a result of several factors, including a tough economy, a poor location and corporate problems after a massive security breach in 2013, local economic development officials said Thursday.

The Springfield location at 1885 W. 1st St. is one of 13 stores nationally that will close early next year. Target is the third major retailer to close in Springfield this year after JC Penney and Macy’s decided in January to shutter their locations at the Upper Valley Mall.

Target’s decision has been a big topic locally, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Community Improvement Corp. of Clark County during the group’s meeting. Retail is changing as more residents shop online, and it’s possible more retail stores will eventually close over time as well, Hobbs said.

“I would expect that this will continue and will ebb and flow to some degree,” he said.

Target selected its location just before Bechtle Avenue became the city’s main retail strip, which put it at a disadvantage, Hobbs said. The store also had to weather the recent recession, and the company has faced struggles across the board after a massive security breach in 2013 that affected more than 100 million customers.

Residents also need to shop locally to ensure Clark County businesses remain viable, said Mike McDorman, director of ther Chamber of Greater Springfield.

“We have a responsibility if we can to patronize stores as locally as we can,” McDorman said.

The move affected more than 100 employees, and the Chamber of Greater Springfield is still trying to work with the company to offer training and other resources to those employees, he said. The chamber and OhioMeansJobs Clark County are also working with employees affected after Moyno Inc. a local manufacturing firm, decided to close its Springfield office earlier this year.

CIC officials also said there has been some progress with a proposal to develop a community-wide strategic plan. The plan would help local leaders identify key projects and needs for Clark County. The CIC, along with city and county officials have continued to discuss the proposal and could eventually seek a U.S. Economic Development Administration planning grant to help pay for the project, Hobbs said.

The CIC is also considering adding a new feature to its website that would allow site selection firms to easily pull demographic data about the region and it’s workforce. The feature would allow prospective businesses to have more information about Clark County and compare it to other communities when making business decisions, Hobbs said.

“Having this is becoming an industry standard,” Hobbs said.

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