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For some it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend

As of last week, Boulder City’s 99 Cents Only store closed its doors for good.

It was announced in April that the discount store would be closing all 371 locations. While in bigger towns and cities, word of the closures may not have been felt by many. But here, it’s another story.

Granted, as time went on, finding anything with a 99-cent price was like a game of Where’s Waldo. Still, its closure will have an impact on BC residents.

Not only did we lose a discount store, we also lost a pseudo-grocery store. While living in Sedona, Ariz., I’d often swing in and pick stuff up on my way back home, because there wasn’t one where I lived. In the year since moving back, I became adept at keeping track of items I knew I’d want to get there as opposed to any other shopping option, such as greeting cards, cleaning products and often, fruits and vegetables.

When we announced the closure in the Review and asked for the public’s input, the responses came fast and furious. Many, who are on a fixed income, said this will reduce their options and cut further into their household food budget. Many others gave their ideas of what they’d like to see in that building, the most common of which being some sort of grocery or discount store.

Many have questioned why a second grocery store has yet to move into Boulder City, specifically into the old Vons location. Sadly, that shopping area could become an eyesore with two of the town’s largest commercial spaces now empty.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about the number of prominent vacant commercial spaces in town, with Vons being one of them. I talked with Chamber CEO Jill Rowland Lagan and current acting City Manager Michael Mays.

“We’d love to have another grocery store in the community,” Mays said. “We’ve heard from residents who have said that it’s a need.”

Both noted that mid-sized retail companies need certain traffic counts and population base before they will consider a community and right now those numbers are not high enough in Boulder City.

Rowland Lagan said with the opening of I-11 those traffic figures have decreased dramatically and that before it opened, Smith’s had shown some interest in building a grocery store at a different location in town. She also said she’s been told many times that retrofitting the Vons building would be cost-prohibitive and because of that, grocery stores would rather build from scratch.

I know what you’re thinking, how is it that three grocery stores survived in Boulder City not all that long ago in Vons, Albertsons (before the two merged) and Central Market? A valid question, but as Rowland Lagan and Mays pointed out, the numbers are just not there because of traffic and let’s face it, Boulder’s fairly stagnant population growth now and presumably in the years to come. And as May pointed out, they get lots of inquiries from residents but the city can’t force a chain to move here.

For now, as shoppers we’ll have to do our due diligence when it comes to sales and coupons, make the occasional trip to Henderson or Las Vegas and keep our fingers crossed that a second option will want to someday call Boulder City home.

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