WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Mom-And-Pop Shops Push Back At 'Prime Day'

July 16, 2018 - 4:02 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It's a busy day at Alamo Shoes at the corner of Clark and Summerdale in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood.

"We've got some sales going on right now, but this isn't normally the case," owner Harriet Price said.

The store has been a staple of the neighborhood for 44 years.

"We are one of the last independents in Chicago. We're a family shoe store."

Over the years, Price said, they've weathered plenty of storms, but the Internet has been a game-changer and online giants like Amazon have definitely taken a toll.

"We're getting murdered by the internet, by Millennials, and the whole shebang. We're a dying breed, we're a dinosaur,” Price said.

Alamo Shoes owner Harriet Price (WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding)

She owns the property, which allows her to keep the rent prices down, but with sales and real-estate tax hikes and an increase in minimum wage, it's hard to keep the store out of the red.

"It's getting harder and harder. We reduce our merchandise often to get foot traffic in here and Prime days like this certainly don't help."

Price says they try to compete with frequent sales and customer service, which she says you can't get online.

"We're very service-oriented, our prices are fair. We service, we fit, we have free parking. I even deliver shoes individually if people can't get over here, especially seniors who need help."

Expanding Prime Day this year has increased the pressure on stores like hers to roll out their own promotions. She hopes some new remodeling and a loyal customer base will keep them competitive as more and more people choose to shop online.

"We're going to try to stay here as long as possible for the next generation, for our family, but I fear we'll eventually have to get out,” Price said.

The week of last year’s Prime Day was the lowest foot-traffic week for the retail industry during the entire summer, according to new data from Foursquare. The company used its location intelligence technology to analyze visits to physical stores the week of Prime Day 2017 as well as the week after. Big box and clothing stores also saw drops.

Each year on Prime Day, shoppers have access to more than one million deals worldwide. It will last for 36 hours and be available in 17 countries. The first Prime Day was held in 2015.  Amazon Prime has over 100 million subscribers worldwide.

"There's not a future for retailers. Look around. All around the city, there are empty stores," Price said.