By Brianna Stacks
On Sept. 24, a popular entertainment retail store closed its doors permanently to the public in Mount Pleasant. After three months of “going out of business” signs, continuously dropping discount prices, and human advertising, customers said goodbye to Hastings as one of the trendy spots for young people in the area. The effect has been larger than one might think and will have an impact on many Northeast students.
As the shelves emptied by the hour and bold, yellow discount and for sale signs blanketed the store, NTCC student Sierra Kennedy, took Hastings closing more personally. “It’s a bummer really, there isn’t a designated place for teens and young adults to go in Mount Pleasant. Hastings was the “common cool place” where friends could hang and share common interests,” Kennedy said. “Now that it’s gone, there’s Gamestop, Walmart and maybe the bowling alley, but it’s mainly for families. There’s really no place for the independent teen or young adult to just go and hang out with friends and shop. I mean, where do we go now?”
With the loss of revenue a declining market for physical books, movies, and games, Hastings Entertainment Inc. filed for bankruptcy in early July in order to search for a buyer that would continue to operate its stores. According to court papers, the company was hoping for a sale by mid-July, but they were unsuccessful. Hastings Entertainment was then put up for auction and bought out by Hilco and Gordon Brothers who have jointly began the liquidation process that will eventually shut down all of Hastings 124 stores across the U.S.
Once it was announced that Hastings would be closing, many of the store’s popular features were immediately cut including movie rentals and their movie and video game buyback programs. Another well-liked program that was eliminated was Hasting’s Friday night Magic Tournaments. Magic, a fantasy card game that has grown popular among teens and young adults, was the highlight of NTCC student David Hullett’s Friday night. Hullet said he has definitely felt the effect of the store’s closing. “It’s an inconvenience really,” Hullet said. “In the past, I could just drive from my home in Pittsburg to Mount Pleasant to play a tournament. Now, I will have to drive, most likely, all the way to Longview.”
Hullet is not the only one who is feeling inconvenienced by the store’s closing. Northeast Texas Community College student, Ryan Nelson, said he no longer has the luxury of having a store close to home that meets his merchandise needs. “I do not like it at all,” Nelson said. “Due to the fact that Hastings is where I got all of my ‘nerd merchandise,’ it is terrible that I will have to drive all the way to Longview and use up half a tank of gas.”
Hastings plans to close all 123 of its stores by Oct. 30 approximately 1,200 employees will be losing their jobs. Shortly after the announcement of the closing down of its stores, Hastings Entertainment Inc. released the following statement, “We thank our customers and employees for their loyalty over the years, and we hope to see our customers at store closing sales.”