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Store closures in Shadyside leave some residents concerned, others optimistic

Store closures in Shadyside leave some residents concerned, others optimistic
Store closures in Shadyside leave some residents concerned, others optimistic 02:25

SHADYSIDE, Pa. (KDKA) - In the last few months, four stores have closed along Walnut in Shadyside, most recently, the Gap this past week. While some said the trend is concerning, others said they're optimistic.

Scott and Stacy Niditch moved to Shadyside for the vibrant life by Walnut, where they can easily shop and eat.

"One of the reasons we're in this neighborhood is because of this area and the feel," Scott said.

However, they fear that won't be the case anymore.

"I'm worried that it's going to change like the flavor of the area," Stacy said.

Since they started living there, they've watched multiple stores move out. Athleta closed at the end of last year. Then, the boutique E.B. Pepper and shoe shop Footloose shut their doors, with the owners retiring. Now, the spot where the Gap sat for decades is empty.

"Everyone's moving to online shopping and not interacting with people in stores," Stacy said.

In October 2020, the retailer, which also owns Athleta, announced it would close about 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores across North America by the end of 2023, citing current market conditions and the increasing demand online. 

It's unclear whether that included the Shadyside Gap, but Co-President of the local chamber, John Henne, said it wasn't sudden.

"In this case, these are all closing all over the country. This is not just Walnut Street," Henne said.

Henne is also the president of Henne Jewelers, which has been on Walnut since 1978. He said this isn't reflective of the business there.

"I think this is just a natural evolution that happens in retail like this," Henne said.

Henn said there are already plans for another store to move into the Gap, with several other empty storefronts.

"We feel really bullish on Walnut Street right now," Henne said.

It's good news for Scott and Stacy, who are trying to remain hopeful.

"We just want to make sure that something comes in and continues as a point of reference that people can come and enjoy and spend time, you know, with other people," Scott said. 

"Just, you know, worried to see the changes."

KDKA-TV has learned the store going into the Gap's spot will be announced soon.

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