Orland Park Faces Retail Challenges

Orland Park Faces Retail Challenges
Posted on 03/21/2018

The "Amazon effect" is taking its toll on Orland Park.

Orland Park Trustee Jim Dodge noted that the recent closing of the Sears store at Orland Square followed by the nationwide closures of Toys R Us, including the Orland Park store, directly affect the village.

"I've been saying this for years," said Dodge, chair of the village's Technology, Innovation and Performance Improvement Committee. "We, as a board, need to address the revenue challenges that we are facing and also address the village's cost structure. The glory days of increasing revenue from retail stores are over."

Village officials recently learned that village sales tax revenue for 2017 dropped by more than two percent from the previous year.

"The Wall Street Journal recently published a story describing the effect Amazon has had on major retailers," Dodge noted. "It also described how Toys R Us's liquidation has sent the toy industry reeling."

"It's our understanding that the Orland Park Toys R Us is one of the top performing stores in the chain," Dodge said, adding, "It's expensive to do business in Cook County and it's very tough to do business in retail."

Anticipating a drop in sales tax revenue, Orland Park officials and staff trimmed a number of programs from the village's budget. "The village's budget was prepared with a number of programs being trimmed or completely eliminated," Dodge said.

"And, we're fortunate that plans have been presented for the Sears space at Orland Square," Dodge said.

Mayor Keith Pekau and village staff have been working with Simon, the owner of Orland Square, on plans for a planned development for the Orland Square Sears store.

Dodge added, "Both Sears and Toys R Us closing will have a direct impact on future revenue. This most certainly will be a topic during board discussions on our long range planning."