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  1. #1
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    Default A Discussion of Urban Malls & Storefront Mercantiles

    I hate the mallification of America, don't you?****

    I'm intrigued by the albino squirrels. Why do they have so many in Olney? Could you share a picture of the little fellow?


    ****this comment was in response to a post made here in a field report from Route 66,
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-08-2007 at 11:56 AM. Reason: navigation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default Now, who is the contrarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    I hate the mallification of America, don't you?
    Not in the slightest -- Folks deserve good shopping opportunities and good selection and if mall-like corporate companies can deliver it better than tradition "mom & pop" variety stores -- I am in favor of progress. Walgreens and stores of their ilk provide jobs and merchandising options that residents of smaller towns have not had under the traditional mercantile structure. There is still a thriving market for the independent entrepreneur, but they ought to survive because they can deliver a better level of customer service and not just because they represent a traditional way of doing business.

    Just my two cents...

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Keithville, LA
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    638

    Default Sounds Like a Blast

    This was right next to a place selling steel folk art with a huge white chicken
    I loved this image. I've been having to driving to Carthage, Texas and back quite a lot lately along Highway 79. I keep seeing this automotive shop/tanning store that looks like an old junk store. There's car parts and random things all in the yard. I'm going back by tonight and will try to get a picture. I'm just so intrigued. Do they really get customers? Who's desperate enough for a tan that they'll get one at the automotive shop?

    As for urban sprawl. I find that people's perspective on this differs upon where they were raised and what kind of town they lived in. People in larger cities or thriving areas who always had lots of goods available and enough competition that prices remained low are often against it. People from small towns or dying cities (Shreveport in the 80s & 90s) are for it. It provides goods at a reasonable price and creates jobs. The towns aren't as pretty, but they were dying anyway. So...

    The only time I got kind of creeped by mallification out is when Summer Grove Baptist Church sold their land to Walgreens who tore down the Church. Except -there is still a fairly large graveyard (with a random and giant Confederate Flag in it) behind the Walgreens. But Summer Grove has moved a couple of times since and has now set up residence in an old mall. So I guess that could be the anti-mallification?

    Laura
    Last edited by lhuff; 05-07-2007 at 01:52 PM.

  4. #4

    Default My tuppenceworth?

    I hate malls. From my 10 years experience of driving the US, they've slowly but surely sucked the life from a huge number of downtowns. That's why we banned the building of any more over here, because the same thing was happening.
    Sure, it's good to give the consumer choice but at what cost to local communities?

  5. #5
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    Default Don't tan...rust instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    I loved this image. I've been having to driving to Carthage, Texas and back quite a lot lately along Highway 79. I keep seeing this automotive shop/tanning store that looks like an old junk store. There's car parts and random things all in the yard. I'm going back by tonight and will try to get a picture. I'm just so intrigued. Do they really get customers? Who's desperate enough for a tan that they'll get one at the automotive shop?
    This cracks me up. Just watch out if they offer one of those new spray-tanning options. Maybe they'll just put someone in the same stall they use to paint cars and spray some old rust on ya. :-)

    As for urban sprawl. I find that people's perspective on this differs upon where they were raised and what kind of town they lived in. People in larger cities or thriving areas who always had lots of goods available and enough competition that prices remained low are often against it. People from small towns or dying cities (Shreveport in the 80s & 90s) are for it. It provides goods at a reasonable price and creates jobs. The towns aren't as pretty, but they were dying anyway. So...
    Well, I'm from a pretty small town. About 8000 population. The town next door that has the major shopping is about 18,000. Our total county population (and it's one of the larger-sized counties in Washington state) is only about 70,000. And I hate malls. Locally, malls killed our downtowns. Now we have a bunch of beautiful old buildings with empty storefronts and the city is trying everything to revive the downtown business district. We had far superior stores with better customer service and better selection when we used to have a lot of downtown shops owned by local merchants. I go to our mall area once or twice a year. I used to just walk around downtown for fun on a nice day and pop into any shop that had something interesting in the window. No more window shopping for me. Of course, that means I spend less, too. :-)

    And it always saddens me to go through towns with mall-sprawl instead of an interesting downtown area to visit. I feel like I'm in Anywhere, USA.

  6. #6
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    Default Opposite in Shreveport

    Well, I'm from a pretty small town. About 8000 population. The town next door that has the major shopping is about 18,000. Our total county population (and it's one of the larger-sized counties in Washington state) is only about 70,000. And I hate malls. Locally, malls killed our downtowns. Now we have a bunch of beautiful old buildings with empty storefronts and the city is trying everything to revive the downtown business district. We had far superior stores with better customer service and better selection when we used to have a lot of downtown shops owned by local merchants. I go to our mall area once or twice a year. I used to just walk around downtown for fun on a nice day and pop into any shop that had something interesting in the window. No more window shopping for me. Of course, that means I spend less, too. :-)
    I love getting different perspectives from different parts of the country. Here in Shreveport, the downtown had died out long ago, we were losing stores by the herds and droves and when I graduated high school I had been trained to lose my southern accent when in business dealings because we were told that we probably wouldn't be coming back.

    Then some of the national stores moved in, we got riverboat gambling and now the movies are here. Our empty downtown is finally getting offices and stores back in it and the movie people are using it for downtown New York and other cities when filming period pieces(Factory Girl was filmed outside my old office building). I hate seeing the same things over and over again, but a lot of towns in my area are revitalizing their downtowns now that the people have jobs and can afford to stay here and spend here. Maybe since East Texas and Louisiana was so destitute for so long we are having a different experience than other parts of the country?

    This cracks me up. Just watch out if they offer one of those new spray-tanning options. Maybe they'll just put someone in the same stall they use to paint cars and spray some old rust on ya. :-)
    Oh - I was so upset last night. They'd cleaned up the yard and made it look all pretty and it's now an antique shop/tanning salon. Still kind of random, but just not as cool as the automotive shop/tanning salon.

    Laura

  7. #7
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    Default I like change if it's good change

    Yeah, it is interesting. It sounds like you've got some neat stuff going on there. I'm not opposed to change. But I only like good changes. I don't think, for most towns, malls have brought good changes.

    Our first mall is now almost empty. You have Penneys and Sears on each end and only about 1/2, if that, of the shop spaces have anything in them. It was full at one time but not anymore. And many of the shops that are there are full of tacky stuff I wouldn't want to buy any.

    What I miss about our old downtown was the character of the stores. If you wanted something elegant, you went to Brower's. And you usually got waited on by Miss Sally who worked there from something like 1950 until it closed in the late 1980's. Miss Sally really knew how to help you put a look together, too. If you wanted something fun and trendy, you went to Failor's and the wife and mother who ran that store were always fun while they helped you. If you wanted something that was more high-end trendy, just a bit more under-stated than what you'd find at Failor's, you went to Wolff's. Joel Wolff was a harbor institution. An incredible man. His staff was always helpful but, if you were lucky, the man himself waited on you. This is just a few of the stores I miss.

    I could go on about the different types of shoe stores, the appliance and housewares stores, etc.

    Everything in malls just seems so generic. Thank goodness for using a debit card so I don't have to embarress myself and ask what store I'm in so I can write a check. And staff is always changing, usually young folks, so you don't build the relationships with the staff because most local shops had the same staff for years. They knew you by name and it wasn't unusual for them to say something like "remember that brown plaid skirt you bought last fall? This jacket would look so cute with it." I miss that kind of service!

    Locally, Wal-Mart dominates. And, since I refuse to set foot in those stores, my shopping options are far more limited than when we just had the downtown shops. I would rather spend a few more bucks on an item to keep the profits local.

    Thanks for letting me rant on this. Rant over now.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 05-08-2007 at 11:50 AM. Reason: edited some statements

  8. #8
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    Default Keeping trying something different til it works?

    Oh - I was so upset last night. They'd cleaned up the yard and made it look all pretty and it's now an antique shop/tanning salon. Still kind of random, but just not as cool as the automotive shop/tanning salon.
    LOL...I'm sure next time you drive by it will be something else. Have you camera ready!

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    Keithville, LA
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    Default Oddly enough

    Malls are dying out here. Although we now have one entire section of the city that is a giant shopping complex. I avoid that area like the plague - bad traffic, overpriced goods, etc. But - the only thing there before was cotton fields. So, they didn't have to tear down any buildings.

    On my side of town, Walmart is my only option if I need anything other than food. I try to go at odd hours, but that's not always possible.

    Maybe I'm too young or it died out here long before it did elsewhere, but I've never received the kind of service you're talking about. My Great Aunt worked for JC Penney's for 30 years and speaks of knowing customers well, but even that is a big chain store.

    Laura

  10. #10
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    Default Shopping and Stores are just like politics (in my view)

    I don't see any material difference in the style of shopping and the cultural tradition we call USA politics. Everything cycles, I see no fundamental goodness difference between a Mom&Pop dress store as opposed to a modern Saks 5th Avenue. There is plenty about so-called "traditional values" in politics that I think are more than ready for the dust-heap.

    Malls and other centers of their ilk have to change to keep current with the desires and tastes of their market. It is a dynamic enterprise and there is plenty of evidence to support the notion that there will aways be a market for the specialized goods and services that can only be delivered on the scale of the small store.

    Mark

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