Merced Stores still struggling to recover from the recession

FRESNO, Calif. Action News looks at the positive changes shoppers and store owners are seeing this year, and the signs that the area is still struggling to recover from the recession.

Last year in Merced black Friday seemed to earn its name for a different reason as shoppers mourned the loss of three major retailers that were all going out of business, including the Mervyn's in the mall.

Joe Vasquez said "It was so lonely when Mervyn's closed down, it was a ghost town, a ghost mall, really, it was just so sad."

But one year later, there's a new kohl's in the former Mervyn's space, and a new excitement among holiday bargain hunters.

Melissa Haar said: "I like kohl's more than Mervyn's, so i say thumbs up."

Melissa Padron said "It brings a lot of good jobs here, and there's good sales going on right now, so i like it."

Keri Maciel owns three stores in the mall, and says kohl's has also given her businesses a boost.

Keri Maciel, Merced mall business owner said: "people are excited about having kohl's in, people talked about shopping in Turlock, so now we're keeping them local, which we like, and yes, they're definitely bringing the foot traffic up."

And kohl's isn't the only new business in town. Merced has also recently added two new sushi restaurants and two frozen yogurt shops. But a local commercial real estate agent we spoke with says the retail sector is still struggling. He points out that circuit city, linens n' things, and Gottschalks have yet to be replaced.

However, these longtime Merced residents say they're starting to see the light at the end of the recession tunnel, and they've already added another big name retailer to their Christmas wish list.

Tony Ornelas said: "I'd like to see Macy's come in, i think a lot of people would like to see Macy's, that's a popular store."

But for now, Maciel just hopes holiday shoppers will continue to support the local stores that are still hanging in through these tough times.

"Shop local, spend local, and it gives local jobs."

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.