Outside investors interested in opening a national chain in a city evaluate a community based on this invisible currency: individuals who collectively create high levels of social capital in a city are rewarded with businesses relocating there, because they possess the purchasing power required with returning profits that keep investors happy.
|The Toys R Us in Ferguson, Missouri (opened in 1989, when the city was 73 percent white) is closing in 2015, when the city is 70 percent black...|
Collectively, a community made-up of individual black people will be hard-pressed to attract national chains that don't have "dollar" in the name, or ones that don't specialize in title pawns or cash-checking.
But, to truly understand the damning consequences of the black undertow submerging a once thriving white suburb, it's incumbent upon economists concerned only with in-the-black spreadsheets to understand the Visible Black Hand of Economics.
Back in 1990, the city of Ferguson, Missouri was 73 percent white. The last time a U.S. Census had been conducted, Ferguson was 85 percent white (1980).
It was this simple market research (demographics) the corporate custodians of Toys R Us utilized to build a new store in Ferguson back in 1989.
Back then, the citizens of 73 percent white Ferguson boasted purchasing power, and an overwhelming desire to keep their white kids and white grandchildren happy by purchasing the hottest toys to ensure they'd stay a Toys R Us kid (point of fact: my realization of the consequences of the black undertow was triggered by witnessing a once-thriving mall - with a standalone Toys R Us located only 400 yards away - close within a span of 15 years).
But Ferguson is no longer the same place as it was when Toys R Us opened in 1989; the city is 70 percent black and less than 26 percent white. White children are all but gone, with white grandparents merely watching the equity in their houses decline each year as the percentage of the black population increases.
And you can't buy toys with an EBT/Food Stamp Card. Recall, St. Louis County (different from the city of St. Louis) is just over one million people in population. It's home to Ferguson, a city where Section 8 voucher holding blacks have flocked to in the past 20 years.
The Toys R Us store in Ferguson, which was burglarized during last year’s unrest, will close at the end of March, the company confirmed Tuesday.
The store, open since 1989, will close “to prepare for the sale of the property,” said company spokeswoman Alyssa Peera.
The store was “not meeting the needs of the business,” Peera said. “That is separate from the events that took place,” she added, referring to the protests and looting.
“We have enjoyed serving the Ferguson community for many years. At this time, we do not have any plans for a new store in the Ferguson area,” she said.
The store is at 10895 West Florissant Avenue, near Interstate 270. Peera noted other Toys R Us stores, including locations in Chesterfield and Sunset Hills, remain in the St. Louis area.
The 46,000-square-foot Ferguson store employs 36 people. The company said it will place as many as possible at its other stores.
On Monday, a store employee told the Ferguson Commission that workers had been informed of the store closing. “We can’t afford to fix our store, pay the bills and pay the workers,” said Kaylen Smith, 18, a senior at Hazelwood East High School.
“None of that is accurate,” Peera said.
Toys R Us is a closely held company with more than 1,500 stores in 36 countries under the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands.
The company, which canceled an initial public offering of stock in 2013, posted a decline in holiday sales last year for at least the third year in a row.For millennials, the whoosh of air felt when the automatic doors opened to welcome you into Toys R Us is a fond, fond memory of being a child in the closing decades of the American Experiment.
But those memories were only possible because of the individual contributions of white people who collectively created the social capital necessary for a Toys R Us to open in your community, to serve those white parents and white grandparents searching for the perfect toy for their children.
The Visible Black Hand of Economics strikes again...