Gone but not forgotten; Memories of closed stores carry on

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The last few years have brought about new changes for Bel Air, with the closing of Toys ’R Us, HHGregg, and the announced closing of Sears. The new companies who are taking up residency in the shells the former stores have left behind are doing so to improve their businesses in real life in an increasingly online world.

   Toys ’R Us, HHGregg, and Sears have all closed their doors, after having financial difficulties. The stores that were located in Tollgate Marketplace have been replaced with HomeSense and Sprouts, while Sears’ replacement has yet to be announced. 

     HomeSense’s location in Bel Air is only the company’s third in Maryland, making the store even more important. HomeSense is a Canadian furniture company that has found a place in stores across Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Its new store in Bel Air can bring people in, benefiting the community as a whole since it provides houseware items that can’t be found in a lot of other places in the local area.

     The closing of these stores is unfortunate for them but it is a great opportunity for the town of Bel Air, since it opens up new resources for the city. After Bel Air, the next closest Sprouts is in Towson.

     A grocery store that prides itself on healthy produce is a great thing for Bel Air, helping people who want to have healthier lifestyles achieve their goals.

     The replacement for Sears hasn’t been chosen. Hopefully Harford County will allow something like what is found in the White Marsh Mall.  An anchor store like Dave and Busters or a bowling alley could bring new life to a mall that is largely overlooked and empty because of its lack of “good” stores and entertainment.

     Harford Mall and other locally empty storefronts should consider the needs of the community when deciding what to put it in where. Regardless, new businesses provide an exciting opportunity for Harford County.  In fact, when the new stores show promise, their addition will likely bring more people to our area, rather than making people seek other places, and that can’t be a bad thing for Harford County.