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Mishawaka store closing, heading to the online market

MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- A local business is closing its doors in December.

Fun F/X in Mishawaka announced in the Facebook post below that he would be moving to the online sector and closing his store on Grape Road.

Victor Cao, Fun F/X owner, said he is closing the store because of high rent that’s been almost doubled and what he calls a new trend in retail.

“We’ve just seen a shift not only from our sales but from customer comments,” Cao said. “Some say hey I’ve already bought all my online and so it’s a trend that we needed to take a look at for our financials.”

A trend where brick and mortar shops are a thing of the past. South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO, Jeff Rea, said the retail industry is going to change dramatically in the future.

“It’s a tough battle because we want to see things and touch it feel it but I also want the convenience of being able to get it from my home or from my office or from my phone,” he said.

He said right now in the county there’s less growth for retail businesses. In a 2010 US Census report, there were 921 retail stores in St. Joseph County. In 2015, that number decreased to 881 shops, a loss of almost 50 retail businesses.

Cao will be letting go nine employees and shutting down a more than 25-year-old store. He said for holidays the business usually see a boom during were a lot slower this year, it was another sign to go online.

Ed Quiett, who’s known as Santa Claus around South Bend and Notre Dame, comes to the store at the start of the holiday season and said this is his go-to store.

“They pull down gloves out for me to try on,” Quiett said. “I tried on my Santa suits they’ve got a variety of suits hanging over there that I was able to check out see which one fits.”

He said it’s’ the customer service he’ll miss the most.

“Online’s great and I’m sure I’m going to continue shopping with them online but I’m going to miss having them here in Mishawaka,” he said.

Cao said it’s a sad situation, closing the store.

“But hopefully you know we’ll be back in a different way and try to service everybody as best we can,” said Cao.

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