LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Cal’s Western Store is closing it’s doors in a few months. The store has been around for 58 years, and the owners are said to be retiring.
“It’s time for us to retire,” said John ‘Jim’ Gautreau, one of the store owners.
A staple in Lafayette and on Johnston Street, Jim says that the store is closing merely based on he and his family members retiring, but can’t deny that the rise of online shopping has been a factor.
“It’s tougher times now retail. Just a lot of things, even some of your bigger stores, and what not are putting their wings back in. And it’s due to just how things are today, and how people shop,” said Gautreau.
Some old school brick and mortars across the country are struggling to stay open, with more people going online to shop.
“I mean, you can get on Amazon and pretty much buy anything, and actually get it shipped to you,” Gautreau said.
“Local brick and mortars, small businesses, will continue to have to compete more and more and more with online retailers,” said Reece Theriot, an instructor of sales, entrepreneurship and marketing at U.L. Lafayette.
He says that while online shopping is convenient, there’s some aspects of local retail stores, that the online market cannot compete with.
“And what you often hear, and especially with the female market is, ‘I want to put it in my hands, I want to hold it, I want to try it on, I want to feel it, I want to see it in the flesh.’ That’s why local mom and pop shops can really compete because they can really offer that value,” said Theriot.
As for Gaureau, his family is planning to liquidate all their merchandise in the next few months, as they close in October. He says that this new wave on online shopping has not only affected his store, but will continue to affect retail stores in the future.
“Things are different. This is something we have never seen before,” he said.