The retail landscape has been very shaky in New Jersey for a few years now. It’s obvious that the first thing that threatened it was the Internet. There’s no doubt that many people decided to buy online instead of walking into a store.

Amazon, in particular, has killed so many businesses. Don’t get me wrong; I am an avid Amazon shopper. I have nothing bad to say about them. Like a lot of things that happen with progress, certain industries just become less important over time. After all, did anyone argue when the handkerchief industry was killed by the advent of Kleenex?

Then, of course, we can attribute this sea change in the retail grocery industry to the fact that mega discount stores like Walmart and Target have begun to carry groceries at really good prices and pharmacy chains have, as well.

But it’s noteworthy how many grocery stores have died as a result of these changes.

Every time you turn around in New Jersey you see another medical group opening up or another Amazon warehouse in the spot where a traditional grocery store used to be. Add in the pandemic and you’ve got a recipe for store closings.

The latest casualties are another couple of Stop & Shop stores. According to New Jersey 101.5's Erin Vogt, the Paramus location on Route 17 closed Jan. 13 and another in South Brunswick is slated to close on Feb. 24.

The mayor of Paramus, Richard LaBarbiera was quoted in the article as saying, “We never like to see any businesses close in town, but Paramus is blessed with a vital retail and now medical market and when one door closes another door opens."

That sounds very optimistic, but to me, this shows another Achilles' heel of the grocery store’s importance in our economy.

Yes, the discount ones like Aldi and Lidl are on the rise. But are we seeing the beginning of those—along with Amazon—putting an end to the traditional grocery store as we know it here in New Jersey? Time will tell.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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