After serving the Shoals area for close to 15 ½ years, Best Buy has announced it will close its Florence, Alabama store located at 398 Cox Creek Parkway on February 25, 2017.
Best Buy, Co. Inc. is an American multinational consumer electronics corporation headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. Best Buy, famous for its “Geek Squad”, was named “Company of the Year” by Forbes in 2004. It was founded by Richard M. Schulze and Gary Smoliak in 1966 as an audio specialty store with the original name “Sound of Music”. In 1983, Sound of Music was renamed Best Buy Company, Inc. and the company began to expand its product offering to include home appliances and VCRs, opening its first superstore in Burnsville, Minnesota. It debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 1987 and achieved $1 billion in annual revenue in 1992. In 1999, Best Buy was added to the Standard & Poor’s S&P 500. In the early to mid 2000’s it continued to grow by acquired other companies including Musicland Stores Corp., Future Shop, Ltd., and a majority interest in Chinese appliance retailer Jiangsu Five Star Appliance. Best Buy’s U.S. stores grew in total to more than 600.
Flash forward several years to the 2010’s. With its U.S. store total topping 1000, profits began to decline as online shopping increased. As with many other retail businesses the online shopping industry began to erode revenues and profits.
The Florence, Alabama location is one of casualties of the decline. The Florence store opened in June 2001. My wife and I were married in May of 2001 and moved to the Shoals area in June of 2001 and so I have fond memories of that time.
The store has 60 full and part-time employees. Best Buy spokeswoman, Danielle Schumann said the company officials decided not to renew the store’s lease citing lease cost, overall strength of the retail market, and shopping patterns of customers as all playing roles in decision. She said “We do not take these decisions lightly,” and thanked employees for their dedication to Best Buy. Florence employees may apply for open positions at other Best Buy stores with the closest being Huntsville, Alabama. Workers who choose not to stay will receive a severance package from the company.
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Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999.Read his full bio here.