With the loss of Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Sears, KMart, and other retail stores- retail vacancies are up in the Ocean County Area. Why do they take so long to fill? Why don’t retailers want to locate here?

Currently in Toms River we have a vacant Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and a soon-to-be vacant KMart. The Sears store in the Ocean County Mall is in the process of being torn down for a new retail lifestyle center, but who will come? Mall owner Simon promised new stores, restaurants, and possibly a gym. Will this be enough of a draw to bring shoppers back to the mall? How about a new food court with some actual variety?

Residents constantly ask for supermarkets to come as they are a staple of shopping centers and everyone needs to eat. The county does not fit the demographics of Whole Foods nor Wegmans, which are the two most commonly requested supermarkets when asked of the public. Brick even tried to lure Wegmans to build a store in the old Foodtown lot, which they politely declined. Ollies Bargain Outlet took half of the old Pathmark in Toms River, and we already have two Shop-Rites in town. We also have two Stop & Shops in TR, which rules them out for likely occupying a vacant store.

Possible tenants for the vacant stores could include; At Home (which recently opened in Brick), Hobby Lobby, and maybe a second Walmart with a Supercenter. It’s no secret that customers are buying more goods online, and retailers are struggling to turn a profit in physical brick and mortar locations.

What stores would we like to realistically see come to the area?