You only have to drive around the south-west to see the impacts of consumer habits. Small-town pubs, stores, eateries, post offices, banks and schools have all closed. The reasons are many and varied - extended shop trading hours, technology, better transport to name a few.
But they're not dead. And it's hard to ever see them being wiped from the landscape because they are so much more than what the sign outside says.
Stores, pubs, post offices are community hubs. They are where people congregate, communicate, rally to help in the tough times or celebrate in the good times.
Dennington is a community that refuses to become just a suburb of Warrnambool. Forty years ago there were paddocks between west Warrnambool and Dennington, now they are linked through housing estates and businesses.
But Dennington has its own community association, it hosts the popular Carols By The Merri each Christmas and despite losing its biggest employer a couple of years ago, it still has industry and that milk factory. Whereas once it had seven shops in the main street, it has one - one that's stood the test of the time - the general store.
The owners Tom and Jenny Bertrand are set to retire and finding a buyer for the business has so far been tough. Now the community, led by long-time resident Richard Ziegeler, wants to form a co-operative to buy it.
Dennington doesn't have to look far for inspiration. The Wangoom community saw the writing on the wall when stores in nearby Purnim, Garvoc and Mailors Flat closed and in 2004 formed a co-operative to purchase its store, that is now thriving.
Mr Bertrand grew up in Dennington and as a boy went to the shop to buy lollies. His passion, sense of community and even romanticism with the past has driven him to open the doors every day for 17 years. He says with a post office, milk bar and newsagency it is a solid business. If there's one positive to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic which has turned our lives on their heads, it's the importance of community, supporting locals, shopping locally. Dennington's store and those remaining just like it, can survive. We need them and everything they add to our communities.