I remember how I felt when the next to last K-Mart in New Jersey was closing down.

It was the one at 1550 St. Georges Ave. in Delco Plaza. But that’s how you’d locate it if you’d never been there. For those of us who had known it for decades since our childhood, it was the one across St. Georges Avenue from Buxton’s and from Bradlees.

Or the one on St. Georges Avenue in Avenel behind the Roy Rogers where my friend almost got us kicked out as teenagers.

Those places are all gone now, too.

So I can imagine how my mom and dad felt when their places went away for good. Places like EJ Korvette (which everyone just ended up calling Korvettes) and Two Guys. Actually, I don’t have to imagine. I now know.

Making business news this week is that the troubled home store Bed Bath & Beyond is laying off 20% of its corporate employees and closing down three of its New Jersey locations.

The one on Route 9 South in Manalapan, along with International Drive in Flanders and East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus are all going to be shuttered. No exact date has been given.

It’s part of a broader plan to ditch 150 Bed Bath & Beyond stores nationwide. This is more than one-fifth of all the U.S. locations. And isn’t this how it always seems to start? The beginning of that long, gray march towards the edge of the retail cliff.

There are stores we are so used to seeing in New Jersey it seems hard to imagine them not here. Places like Staples. Home Depot. Walmart. Target. Walgreens. It’s a changing world. And when the world starts changing faster than you do, you feel left behind.

When some of these places go, the cycle will be complete. We will replace our parents. Our parents who lost Bamberger’s and Woolworth’s, S.S. Kresge’s and Woolco and all the others. And we’ll know how they felt.


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