Businesses close along Highway 78 in Jasper

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At least five businesses have closed in the past few months along Highway 78 in Jasper.

One of the latest closings was the longtime Hardee's restaurant on Highway 78 West.

According to a report by WBRC in December, six central Alabama Hardee's closed on Dec. 18. In addition to the Jasper location, Hardee's restaurants in Ashland, Anniston, Chalkville, Gadsden and Trussville also closed.

No reason for the closures was given by the Hardee's parent company, CKE Holdings, Inc.

Family Thrift Store on Highway 78 East in Jasper closed the first week of January. A sign at the businesses on Tuesday stated the store "will not reopen."

Clothing retailer Factory Connection in the Jasper Mall will be closing its doors on Jan. 11, according to the company's Facebook page. 

A post on the Factory Connection Facebook page reads, "Thank you to all of our customers for your loyalty and support over the years."

The Children's Place in the Jasper Mall also closed. The company announced last year that a multiyear plan would result in 300 closings of the children's retailer.

Last year, Fred's on Highway 78 closed, amid the closings of more than 100 Fred's stores in the country.

Longtime Jasper family-owned restaurant Moore's Landing also closed late last year.

A couple of individually owned retailers in downtown Jasper closed as well.

"We never like store closings, but they happen, and for various reasons," Jasper Mayor David O'Mary told the Daily Mountain Eagle on Tuesday. "I don't think any of these closings can be tied to a weak retail market in Jasper. In fact, the fiscal year 2019 was a record year for sales tax generation."

Jasper welcomed several new businesses in 2019, mostly restaurants. Furthermore,  in November 2019, the City of Jasper reported a surplus revenue of $2.222 million.   

O'Mary said store closings are not unique to Jasper. 

"This past weekend, I was in Decatur and noticed several big-name retailers that had closed," he said.

Retailers have struggled in the past decade, as shoppers have taken advantage of a growing number of online retail options. According to a recent article by Business Insider,  over 9,000 stores were expected to close in 2019 alone across the country, and an estimated 1.3 million people have lost their jobs due to closings in the past decade. 

Despite some businesses closing in Jasper, Applebee's, Huddle House and Five Below are set to open in the city this year.   

O'Mary told the Daily Mountain Eagle in December that Huddle House is expected to open by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

A sign in front of Five Below at the Jasper Square Shopping Center states the store will open on Valentine's Day.

Employment opportunities have been posted for Huddle House and Five Below at www.indeed.com.

An opening date for Applebee's has not been announced.