Rogers loses another big box

by Aaron Brom

In less than a year, a large national retailer has again targeted the city of Rogers for a store closing.

First it was Lowe’s last year. Now Best Buy, based in Richfield, announced last week that 50 stores would be closed nationally, including in Rogers, Edina, Lakeville and Hutchinson. The closings affect 400 corporate positions and about 100 jobs at each closed location.

Rogers City Administrator Steve Stahmer said the news of Best Buy’s closing was unexpected.

“We hadn’t heard anything until the media reports,” Stahmer said. “We’ve had some empty retail areas but hadn’t seen a lot of closures.”

Stahmer said the city would continue to work with locating new stores to the city, including in the spaces filled by Best Buy and Lowe’s.

“From a city perspective what we would typically do is work closely with the property owners looking to bring in a new user and do what we can to market our community, what we can provide to retailers,” he said. “A lot of retailers have specific formulas to locate somewhere, often a frustrating exercise, but we will work as closely as we can with property owners and brokers. We still think (the Best Buy location) is a prime location with interstate visibility.”

Despite the Best Buy/Lowe’s setbacks, Stahmer cited other positive developments in Rogers. For example, he noted that Rapid Marine and NRD Power Sports relocated in the former Link and Crystal Pierz buildings.

“We’ve also been told that we have a medical clinic that leased out nine to 10,000 square feet in a retail strip area, a medical clinic announcing soon,” he said. “So we have some positive things happening. We are taking the good with the bad. Economists say there has been an uneven recovery and we’ve seen it here firsthand on a small scale.”

Best Buy cited the closings after the company took a huge loss of $1.2 billion last year. The company hopes to save $800 million during the next three years.