I wouldn’t be surprised if the businesses on the south edge of the park are on Indian land. The only time I have been to a local casino the smoke odor was so bad I never went back. Although I am not into that kind of gambling anyway.
Malls used to thrive in the 80’s and early 90’s because they were not only a confluence of all things retail in one place, but also the social center of young adult life. Parents could do all their shopping (clothing, books, electronics, whatever) in one enclosed space, then take the kids out to dinner afterwards without leaving the mall. For teens the mall was the social gathering place. No purchases necessary, just wander around with your friends for hours. For many high school and college students it was also a place of first employment, a retail job where the hours worked with your school schedule and you could get that valuable first work experience in a low pressure environment.
The internet killed ALL of it. There is no need for a one-stop shopping place for adults now that you can sit in front of your computer in your PJs or even shop from your phone. Teens no longer need to be in the same physical space to be social, they’re social 24/7 through social media no matter where they are or what they are doing. So without the parents and the teens to come spend money at the malls, they slowly died out. Retailers went online, or vacated the enclosed malls for more open, modern and sleek stores in the open air “lifestyle centers” that have been popping up everywhere since the early 2000’s. Less retail stores meant less jobs for high school and college kids, and what retail jobs there are now are often taken by adults who can work 40 hour weeks. Because of this (and a similar trend in restaurant employment, the other “go-to” first job for many people that grew up in the 80’s and 90’s) the kids of the new millennium aren’t getting the work experience early to put on their resumes post-high school and college, but the people in charge of hiring are from the era where you went out and got a job at 16, so they’re all wondering “why the hell does this kid have no work experience” and passing them over. In a weird Circle of Life sort of way, the death of the mall has been a detriment to a lot of people for the past 15+ years.
That said, there are plenty of indoor malls that have reinvented themselves. Here in Cincinnati we have no less than 4 major indoor malls still kicking around from the 1980’s. Two are ghost towns, filled with empty storefronts and the occasional low-rent storefront. They’ll be closed by the end of the decade. One is in the process of reinventing itself, having completely torn down and rebuilt the area surrounding the main mall, and now renovating the interior to be more open, inviting and upscale. The fourth, Kenwood Towne Center, is a perfect example of how to succeed as a mall in the 2000’s. The mall borders some more affluent neighborhoods, so in the late 90’s and early 2000’s they decided to ditch any store they considered “average”, and reinvented themselves as an upscale shopping destination. Of course they lured an Apple Store early, and also a Microsoft Store as well. The have retailers you can’t find anywhere else in the city, including Restoration Hardware, Pandora, Lululemon and a host of other trendy upscale storefronts (many of which are B&M fronts for successful online brands). Anchoring the complex are a couple of successful department store chains and half a dozen upscale and popular restaurants (like Maggiano’s and Cheesecake Factory).
Poor Sears though, they were positioned in the early 80’s to take advantage of everything, and they completely fucked it up. They had a stable of trusted and recognized brands, and they let competitors jump out ahead of them in the markets. They had huge electronics/appliances and hardware/lawn/garden departments that could have been spun off to be competitive with the other big box stores and eventually online as well, but they sat there and did nothing. If they’d gone online with their catalog early on, they could have been a competitor for Amazon. They even had (and I’m going way back to the late 70’s here), Sears Portrait Studios, which is where like everyone I grew up with got their family pictures taken. Imagine if someone had been smart enough to spin that business online early on, they could have been bigger than Snapfish.
But Sears was always run by old white guys who only knew what sold yesterday, not what’s going to sell tomorrow. So now a brand that has existed for 130 years is going to disappear thanks to decades of mismanagement, and even people like me who remember Sears at it’s peak won’t shed a tear over it’s passing.
And also the bits about social media socializing. As a kid who grew up on the internet (well, at least from age 11 onward), it’s obviously had a big influence on my life. Fuck, right now, I’m working from home in prep for a winter storm, chatting with people I consider good friends here on Qt3, on Facebook, on the Qt3 Slack, and on the Discord channel for my online “clan” in Utopia. I keep in touch with people online all damned day.
But all my favorite memories with good friends take place in person. Bumming around downtown Gatlinburg, TN (I grew up minutes from there) for hours on end, eating ice cream and looking at the funny stoner stores like Black Cat. Going out to Dollywood and acting all haughty and mature with my pals. Shopping at the mall. Kicking it at the movies and standing around the parking lot in the freezing cold for hours on end afterward. Walking around Boston in the middle of the night with no destination in mind at all.
The loss of some of those “social gathering places” for teens/young adults, and the shift of so much of social life into the internet sphere, seems to me like a big loss. Maybe I’m just turning into an old man yelling at the sky, but nothing online replaces those memories and feelings of being a loitering teen/college student out with my friends.
I’m pretty lucky that the big nerdy circle of people I run with here in Raleigh are super into hanging out IRL. Hell, I just scheduled the first in what I hope’s a series of Luncheons for us working stiffs who need to get outta the office once a month and eat some good local food together :)
Sorry, giant tangent. But the last few pages of this thread, with the death of malls and all, make me really sad. I love malls.
I’m a weird dude :-D
Another aspect of modern teens: They’d rather have a new smartphone than fashion, or even a car. And malls have suffered. Because a lot of mall retailers focused on selling fashion to teens, and you sorta need to be able to drive yourself to the mall to hang out.
I have nothing but pleasant memories of the mall when I was an adolescent in the early 90s. It’s sad today. It’s too bad that a lot of places can’t fill up the open space with niche places. Surely most malls could be turned around with a little outside the box thinking.
I graduated High School in 1979, so malls were just beginning to really become a Big Thing for us. The theater for midnight movies and the pizza place, at my local mall, were what we mostly patronized. But by the time my sister, about ten years behind me, was in high school, she and her friends found the mall a second home.
As I weather one of the worst winter storms the NW has seen in decades, I can’t help but feel the fear and maybe it of others. I don’t really consider Black and Decker a very quality brand. Craftsman has been a couple of notches up for me, and they backed their products with real warranties that didn’t require hassle to invoke.
I’ve consider Sears and especially Kmart on life support for years, but I will miss it.
My local mall is a ghost town too. Sears just closed in December [edit: 2015]. The mall had 40% vacancy even before Sears closed. There is OTOH a mall on the north side of Indy that is always packed with people. Traffic is horrible there.
That’s upmarket and aspirational money from Carmel and Fishers, presumably.
How is Union Station doing nowadays? I never had much of a chance to get up there when the Festival Marketplace was still kicking. It looks like they’ve switched away from retail pretty much completely.
Wow, I didn’t know Union Station still existed! I haven’t been there since I was in middle school.
Just read that the mall there closed in 1997.
[quote]Malls used to thrive in the 80’s and early 90’s because they were not only a confluence of all things retail in one place, but also the social center of young adult life. Parents could do all their shopping (clothing, books, electronics, whatever) in one enclosed space, then take the kids out to dinner afterwards without leaving the mall. For teens the mall was the social gathering place. No purchases necessary, just wander around with your friends for hours. For many high school and college students it was also a place of first employment, a retail job where the hours worked with your school schedule and you could get that valuable first work experience in a low pressure environment.
The internet killed ALL of it. There is no need for a one-stop shopping place for adults now that you can sit in front of your computer in your PJs or even shop from your phone. Teens no longer need to be in the same physical space to be social, they’re social 24/7 through social media no matter where they are or what they are doing. So without the parents and the teens to come spend money at the malls, they slowly died out. [/quote]
I’m fascinated why this hasn’t happened yet in the UK.All of the downward trends would seem to apply - Lord knows I regret it every time I try to do Christmas shopping offline. And we never even had the teens socialising at the mall thing here. Yet, if anything, closed shopping centres have had a mini-boom in recent years, at least the regional and large town ones, anyway. The off-high street ones with 10 or so stores are in a pretty grim state.I guess it’s partly because of planning restrictions, which meant that they weren’t overbuilt in the 90s and early 2000s, but I don’t think that fully accounts for it. I suspect as with most things we’ll follow the US trend 5-10 years later, but I don’t quite understand why it hasn’t happened already.
Don’t really know, but here are some guesses:
- The average Brit is probably more well-to-do, and can buy at nicer shops.
- Pedestrian culture may be stronger in UK, and most buildings take that into account.
- It rains a lot in UK so people want to stay inside.
I kind of suspect the opposite is true, in that these are places that people generally drive to, as opposed to high street retail that people walk to (or park and ride). Indeed, usually they’re the main place to park in the town.
Probably because American cities are famously pedestrian unfriendly, and because in many parts of the US the outside environment is itself somewhat hostile. And by pedestrian unfriendly i mean in the way cities are designed for cars, not in the sense of a lack of traffic lights or crosswalks or whatever. Various commercial strip malls and shopping centers are generally stretched out along major freeways for miles with no regard to walking accessibility. Trying to cross a major interstate to reach the other side of the freeway to shop there is basically unsafe if not impossible. All that room that each shopping area must create for parking even further stretches out shopping areas away from each other.
Big box graveyards certainly don’t slow things down, then again every time a city around here tried to stop a big box from coming in they just get sued into submission.
Cities could write zoning ordinances, but then the big box company would have to hire someone to read the ordinances, hire a lawyer to interpret the ordinances, etc. etc. and the company would complain to a congressman that this hurts their profits!
An area being unfriendly to pedestrians would help malls (both traditional enclosed ones and news open/outdoor ones). The whole point is that you drive to one place, park once, then have tons of stores of all kinds in one place. Easily accessible to pedestrian traffic. Works with buses/trains/whatever getting people to a single point to shop. So I would expect it’s just an overabundance of shopping areas built up along with internet shopping hurting brick and mortar places.
doh, Ginger Yellow already mentioned this. Oh well.
It’s weird seeing all these anecdotes about how great Sears is. Every time I’ve been to Sears they’ve somehow tried to screw me. Fucking with my brakes at the auto center, refusing to honor warranties on broken products, repairmen skipping appointments and charging me anyway. Fuck Sears. Sears deserves to die.
I live in Japan and malls are quite vibrant (but not so common - perhaps why they do better). Japanese malls are about 80% clothing stores and about 70 of that 80 is women’s clothing. They’re also super clean and nice and have a ton of nice restaurants and fast food places. In short, they’re really nice places to go to.
Oh, this is why I came to this thread in the first place. It seems like they have an evil CEO too?