Do not underestimate retail. As an industry retail has been around a very long time, and it always seemed to thrive when things got rough. For instance, consider the California gold rush; miners came from all over to make a fortune by digging gold out of the streams and rivers. A few made it big, but more often than not, most miners were hungry, dirty, and poor – not rich. Many died of injury, malnutrition, illness, and violence. Doesn’t sound like the kind of work environment many Americans would currently embrace. Many non-miners who participated in the gold rush, however, often times became wealthy. Levi Straus comes to mind. He traveled to San Francisco with the specific intent to sell goods to miners. In the process he ended up inventing blue jeans, patenting them, and became a wealthy individual. He made the best of the situation.
Today there are plenty of dire outcomes predicted for the retail industry. Yet, retail is not dying. New retailers have sprung up, new products have appeared, and some retailers have even expanded in this time of upheaval. Like Straus they have sensed opportunity and quickly adapted their business model to take advantage of opportunity. Many now understand omnichannel retailing and are using new techniques to reach new and established customers. Some have quickly moved into direct to consumer retailing, others have ramped up text marketing, and yet others have figured out ways to bring customers back into their stores as we have slowly emerged from isolation the likes of which no living person can remember.
Retail is Nevada is no different. We have seen hard times. The booms and busts of the great depression, and the meltdown of 2008 come to mind. It remains to be seen, though, if the pandemic and subsequent shutdown will emerge as more damaging as those apocryphal events. It has not been easy, and we’ll clearly be able to access things once the pandemic and its effects pass. However we rate the severity of our current condition, it is clear the industry – over the long haul – will not only survive, it will once again thrive.