The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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CONNEAUT’S PLAZA speaks volumes about the local economy. The anchor retailer has gone out of business, leaving a payday loan shop, a Family Dollar store, Curves and discount tobacco and grocery stores to meet the basic needs of residents. Conneaut, like many other Ashtabula County communities, once had stores that sold higher-end merchandise and specialty shops that provided a livelihood for local business owners. Those have virtually disappeared, thanks to competition from chain retailers and a loss of good-paying jobs that once gave residents the discretionary income necessary to spend on “extras.”

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