Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Globe

If you grew up in the Scranton area, The Globe WAS Christmas...  everything from the windows on Wyoming Avenue to Santa on the 5th floor, and everything in between.

It was a kick when several groups decided to get together to put together a Globe retrospective and Christmas window display.  It's set to debut Friday, December 4.

The Globe was a magical place around the holidays.  People deserve a chance to re-live that.  Youngsters should learn what the hulking department store was like.

Having said all that, it's time for (apologies to the late Paul Harvey), the rest of the story.

I'm really tired of social media posts saying the key to bringing Scranton back is the return of The Globe.

NewsFlash:  its time has passed.

Stores can no longer be all things to all people.  Let's examine The Globe.  I loved the book and record department.  Most book stores have closed.  No one buys records.  Appliances?  Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy and others do it better.  Even Boscov's has given up selling them.  Sporting goods?  It's tough to compete with the big box stores.  The small specialty shops cover the niches quite nicely.  There's a restaurant every few feet in the busy shopping districts, and the supermarkets have really stepped up their bakeries.  There's stiff competition in the furniture game.  That leaves clothes, and a big store like The Globe cannot survive on clothing alone.

Let's not forget that The Globe was a pretty lousy store in the final days.  It was drab and dingy and old and tired.  Its merchandise mix skewed very old.  There wasn't much reason for anyone under the age of 25 to swing through those revolving doors.

I was working at a TV station around the corner on the day The Globe closed in 1994.  I interviewed the customers and the workers.  Our operations manager, the great Jack Scannella, dug in to the film library to pull out all those Santa visits, the Easter Bunny arrivals, the back to school shopping... and I teared up.

The Globe was a big part of our lives.  Let's remember it fondly, but realize it's not coming back.  Never ever.
I walked into the collection zone Tuesday, the men's store section of The Globe.  It looks the same way it did in 1994, except it was missing the merchandise.  Diversified renovated much of the main store, but the men's store was never touched.  It was such an eerie feeling walking through.  The beige walls, the yellowed tile floor...

The county commissioners are floating a plan to get all county offices under one roof.  As it stands now, they're spread over downtown, with some expensive leases.

The Globe actually makes sense on a lot of levels.  Admittedly, renovations will be hugely expensive, and the property comes off the tax rolls.

On the other hand, a filled tax free building is better than an empty taxed one.  It puts people downtown.  Construction jobs, public convenience, and it adds life to a dead block.