Can Malls Make It?

Go While You Can

When was the last time you took a trip to your local shopping mall? Did it look like a ghost town? Did you hear a whistling sound, as tumbleweeds rolled through the food court? Things have certainly changed in the retail world in recent years. Gone are the days when armies of harried Christmas shoppers stormed the concourses, trying to get that special something for their loved ones. As much as I loathed dragging our sons through Lakeside or Macomb Mall during the Christmas season, I’m surprised that I kind of miss it now.

Let me be perfectly clear, I generally despise malls. My Christmas shopping usually consists of targeted strikes on unsuspecting retailers. I’m in and out like a ninja, before they even know I’m there. Mission accomplished, as I fade into the night like Batman. However, this time of year tends to make everyone wax nostalgic, even about things they hated back in the day. Christmastime makes me feel that way about shopping malls. I remember when we would take our boys to see Santa, then running after them as they charged into every toy store in the place. All the while, making mental notes of the toys they were checking out. Targeted Market Research.

It’s no secret that malls are in trouble. Our digital world has certainly turned many retail warehouses into the aforementioned ghost towns. They’re victims of what I like to call The Kodak Syndrome. Kodak failed to see the handwriting on the wall when it came to digital photography, and they paid a heavy price. Bankruptcy. Malls are staring down that same gun barrel. With online shopping choices like Amazon, eBay, Overstock, Wayfair, and many more, they’re struggling to compete. I’ve always thought that stores should try an online / brick & mortar approach. The best of both worlds. Many of them are finally trying this method, but it may already be too late.

Since we had an early snowfall this year, it’s put me into Christmas-mode way earlier than usual. We’re planning on multiple trips to Partridge Creek Mall this holiday season. It’s a suburban outdoor mall, that has somehow managed to thrive in a cold-weather climate. The outdoor lighting display, cozy fire pit area, and shoppers strolling along with their dogs are experiences you don’t get at your local mall. Maybe that’s the hope for these mega-retailers, more outside-of-the-box thinking. I know it’s worked for Partridge Creek.

So this Christmas season, I suggest you visit your local mall for some shopping and reminiscing. Who knows? It might be gone by next year. Do me a favor while you’re there, grab me a cookie at Mrs. Fields. Happy Shopping!

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