The recession that began in mid-2007 and dragged on for about two years left scars on the business community in many areas of the country, and figures recently released show a decline in the number of businesses nationwide.
The same is shown locally.
According to numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Fulton County had 36 fewer businesses at the end of the recession than it did when the economic slowdown begun two years earlier. In Montgomery County, 37 businesses were lost between 2007 and 2009.
Video World in the town of Johnstown is shown with “Store Closing” signs in the window on Oct. 5, 2010.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Actually, according to the Census Bureau, only three markets in the United States saw an increase in the number of open business establishments.
Fulton County took its biggest hit in construction in the two years with the loss of nine companies.
"I can see that just because the economy is at a low," said Terry Swierzowski, interim president of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry. "There is not a lot of investment or money for new construction when economy is as bad as it is."
Montgomery County took its biggest hit during the recession in the retail industry with the reported loss of nine businesses. However, statistics only were available through 2009 and do not reflect the current retail development along Route 30 in the town of Amsterdam, which recently saw Kohl's and PetSmart open, among other businesses. Even while retail businesses were shutting down, Target jump-started the Amsterdam Commons development by opening in late 2008.
One of the most prolific losses came in the video rental industry, as at least five area video stores were shuttered in the last four years, starting with the former Movie Gallery in Gloversville, which closed in 2007. Video World in the Arterial Plaza closed in 2010, along with Hollywood Video and Blockbuster Video in Amsterdam. Captain Video in Gloversville closed in September 2009.
In the video rental business, technological changes were blamed for closing the businesses.
The recession also caused several area car dealerships to close. The most notable was Rose Buick in Gloversville and the merger between H&P Chrysler Dodge and Johnstown Dodge, which gave birth to Main Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
Even though the two corporations merged, the change still left one less dealership in the area and an empty lot on South Main Street in Gloversville.
Main Street in Gloversville also took a hit with the closing of The Open Window, which was located in the spot now occupied by the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market and the closing of the Fulton County Bookstore and Computer Store, which were owned by Dave Gibson.
Gibson said he closed the businesses due to a lack of sales.
The building recently was purchased by Love City Fellowship, an independent Christian church to be used as a community center.
Wholesale took a hit in Fulton County as well, with the loss of nine establishments, including Finkle Distributors, which was recently purchased by Core-Mark in 2010. The Fulton County Economic Development Association is marketing the former Finkle facility to a new tenant.
Spray Nine and Ohm Labs also have moved out of the area.
However, despite the fewer businesses, Swierzowski said she is optimistic about the future.
"We do have members that have dropped because they're going out of business," she said. "But if you look at downtown Gloversville, I've never seen as much encouragement as I do at this time."
Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.