Santander Bank says it will close its branch location at 909 Ashley Boulevard this summer, becoming the latest business to hop off "the Boulevard." Santander Bank says the branch will close on July 23, 2021, and consolidate with the branch location at Lund's Corner.

In a letter informing customers about the plan to consolidate the two branches, bank officials stated, "While your branch location is changing, we are committed to helping you to bank your way at any of our remaining branches or using our digital services." Officials did not explain why the branch would be closing.

That section of Ashley Boulevard is undergoing a dramatic change. In recent years, Hancock Monument Company, New York China Buffet, Poirier Post VFW, The Potting Bench, and Dunkin' are just some of the businesses to close their doors on Ashley Boulevard. Others, including Camaioni Nursery and Landscaping, are still open but looking for a buyer. And now Santander Bank is closing its branch location.

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Without a doubt, it has been a tough year for businesses, but I believe most if not all of the above-mentioned businesses closed down before the pandemic or were on the verge of doing so.

What is it about that stretch of Ashley Boulevard? I think part of the problem is that some of the proprietors have simply reached retirement age and have had enough.

Judging by the length of time that some of the properties have been available, it would seem that Ashley Boulevard is no longer attractive to business. It's a shame since there is an almost endless traffic flow in the area.

Perhaps there needs to be a study to determine how best to revitalize Ashley Boulevard.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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