Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reflecting and Brainstorming On How To Use Empty Spaces In Malls Across The Country

OK~ The holidays have come and gone. It's probably not a surprise to a lot of folks that several retailers all across the U.S. are closing their doors in several locations. Our local mall in North Iowa happens to have two stores, which I considered to be fairly popular; have announced that they will be exiting our mall in 2015.

Since this announcement I have read several articles that state how malls are a dying breed. That seems to be the case, but people from North Iowa still go to malls. They go to The Mall of America in Bloomington and Jordan Creek in West Des Moines on a regular basis. I am not a huge shopper in town or out of town. In fact I often have to look at my wardrobe and pictures to be sure I don't wear the same shirt that I wore for last years family Christmas gathering. So, it's probably fair to say that my lack of purchasing new clothes on a regular basis has something to do with them leaving town.

My family and I do shop online. Quite often, it's after we have spent two hours going store to store to find the item that we need, to be told, "We don't carry that." So... the next time we need something (it's quite often computer hardware) we head right to Amazon and our shopping is completed.

Now, a lot of folks think it is just terrible that these stores are leaving town. When in reality, I see this as an opportunity for someone that wants to start their own business. I'm not saying another clothing store needs to replace the ones that are leaving, but something totally new that the consumer in the year 2015 will embrace.

My hometown, Mason City, Iowa happens to be home to the famous Park Inn Hotel and it is located near the mall where these stores are vacating.

There has to be something there that could tie these empty spaces together with this historical hotel. There are still tenants in this mall, but there will be fewer. So, this brings me to the new opportunities that are around the corner. I've been thinking a lot about an inTANDEM workspace in Mason City where folks could gather that work from home to network and be connected with others. The North Iowa Bloggers visited Webster City, Iowa and we all fell in love with this space. That's just one idea and I know there are dozens more out there.

What are some ways that you have seen communities utilize the "dead" space that is being left in malls around the country? There are ideas out there and I have to say I saw a few when I was recently in Webster City Iowa.

While in Webster City, the North Iowa Bloggers stumbled across a SOS Vintage Style Shop, a pottery station, a fun sports themed restaurant/bar, a shop featuring an upscale resale shop, and vintage items which are all possibilities.These were local shops, but they all had ideas that could be thrown into a business plan for a new business to dazzle folks in North Iowa. I'd love to hear what you have to say, as I know many communities all across the country are looking for ideas. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


  1. It would be such an amazing thing if space in the mall could be repurposed and provide a space that would be appreciated and used. I think it is one of those times when you have to look outside the box, right?

  2. Yes, there will have to be a lot of thinking outside the box.


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