At the risk of looking like that former member ...
Yesterday, after replacement of the head gasket, timing belt, and water pump, I put a couple hundred miles on my Subaru Legacy. I took the long way down to Binghamton, and was surprised to find, in that city's otherwise nondescript downtown, a still-operating, full-size department store, Boscov's. It was truly an old-school department store; the kind of place my mother dragged me to in the 1970s; five stories, a restaurant, toy and electronics departments, and non-stop announcements of sales and specials.
I'm curious how, while larger upstate cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse seem unable to support any kind of downtown retail, much less a department store, little Binghamton managed to maintain a retail anchor. Large cities still have a critical mass to maintain downtown retail. Medium-sized cities are just large enough where, among those with disposable income, downtown is more of a hassle to get to than a suburban mall. Small cities may have an advantage for downtown retail - the metro is small enough where a trip downtown isn't a major inconvenience for those in the 'burbs, which might just be 10 or 15 minutes away.
Other small cities in the United States that still have functioning department stores that I know of include Scranton, Wilkes-Barre (both with Boscov's), and Charleston WV (Macy's , JC Penny, Sears). What else is out there?