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Can Main Street, Middle America Survive the Coronavirus?

(KANSAS CITY, MO) – They are among the most iconic American brands. Clothing and entertaining millions of people through the generations — now faced with the real prospect of sudden economic calamity. Before this crisis, Main Street was already on the edge. Now it’s in acute critical condition.

This isn’t the all-too-known slow burn of e-commerce and streaming services eating into market share. These brands are in the middle of a sweeping coronavirus pandemic response that has gripped retailers across the nation – and they are under immense public pressure to not only look after the well-being of their employees and customers, from a distance, but do all of this while maintaining their bottom lines.

Even in Middle America, one of the nation’s more affluent counties, Johnson County, Kansas, the likes of Macy’s and AMC Theatres, both iconic American institutions, have now closed their doors to the public at least for the next few weeks. That seems to be the going projection – two weeks – along with other neighboring retailers, many of who have also made the decision to shut their businesses temporarily.

In the city of Leawood, a prominent upscale shopping enclave known as Town Center Plaza has been hit hard by this pressure. On its website, a bulletin has been posted alerting the public of modified operating hours.

As of March 17, citing health and safety concerns of its “guests, retailers and employees,” Macy’s, AMC Theatres and other tenants are basing their hours of operation on individual ownership and corporate directives.

Macy's department store closed on a normal Wednesday afternoon in Leawood, Kansas.
Macy’s department store empty on a Wednesday afternoon in Leawood, Kansas (Image: 21WIRE © 2020)

The now commonplace note to customers on the Macy's entrance.
The now ubiquitous notice to retail customers on the Macy’s door entrance (Image: 21WIRE © 2020)

AMC Theatres shut during prime matinee hours for moviegoers.
AMC Theatres’ flagship cinema shut during prime matinee hours for moviegoers. The global entertainment brand’s corporate HQ sits just a few block away (Image: 21WIRE © 2020)

Closed today and for the next 6-12 weeks nationwide, the company announced earlier in the week.
“Closed today” and for the next 6-12 weeks nationwide, the company announced earlier in the week (Image: 21WIRE © 2020)

Just across the way, at another shopping and dining destination, Leawood Park Place, a local store in the popular restaurant chain, Gordon Biersch, recently closed its doors for good on March 1st – after its parent company went bankrupt.

In this stark picture, the recently closed brewpub is the backdrop for a vacant space across the street once held by a California Pizza Kitchen.
The recently closed brewpub is the backdrop for a vacant space across the street, once held by a long gone California Pizza Kitchen (Image: 21WIRE © 2020)

We’ll be tracking and chronicling more economic developments like these over the next several weeks and months.

We ask the question: Can Main Street USA survive the Coronavirus?

Will the ‘cure’ be much more painful than the disease?

STAY TUNED FOR FURTHER UPDATES.

READ MORE CORONAVIRUS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Coronavirus Files

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