The Rise and Fall of Shopping Malls

3 years agoOpen For Voting

I submitted this idea earlier to the email.

I remember when I was a kid, (I’m 55 now), malls were all the rage. Many malls were outright ritzy with super high-end stores. Most had four or more large anchor stores. They were laid out on several levels, had huge food courts, movie theaters, video arcades for the kids, (remember arcades? RIP), some even had a stage where local bands might play. They were THE place to “hang out” on weekends, and at seasonal times, (especially Christmas), they were wall to wall people with shoppers as you had to push yourself through.

Today most of them are long gone. Many decaying malls are still standing empty, others have been re-developed so that you would never have known they were there. It’s easy to blame places like Walmart stealing away foot traffic or Amazon taking away so much brick and mortar businesses but there was so much more to malls then that. They were also a social gathering place with lots of restaurants and where you went with friends and family for movies. They were warm in the winters and cool in the summer. It seems far too simplistic to just say that Walmart and Amazon killed them because there was far more to them than that. There is no way Walmart can substitute the social aspects that malls offered. It seems ironic that so many of the old big anchor stores such as Sears and Pennys that were typically dominant in malls are also gone or nearly gone yet you have to wonder that if malls still existed perhaps those big retailers would still be around since they closely complemented each other.

Yes, mall stores were often a bit more expensive than in other places but most people didn’t seem to mind so much, it was an experience just being there. Where else could visit 11 different shoe stores to find exactly what you were looking for?

Personally I kind of miss them, they were a lot of fun.

So…. what happened? Did society change or did the retail industry change?