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Big Chains Out, Small Business In!

National Association of Realtors recent study cites interesting facts regarding the re-purposing of vacant malls.

Open sign in the front of a small business


The big chains have moved from their brick and mortar stores leaving huge vacancies and headaches for mall owners and independent businesses in those malls who based their business on the foot traffic from the now gone anchor tenants. Names such as J Crew, Sears, Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Payless Shoes and many others have disappeared and with them, the loss of jobs. With these huge amounts of vacant space the malls have been selling to investment groups at unbelievably discounted prices even as low as $1 per square foot. As an example of a redeveloped mall is the Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond Virginia. In 2006 the mall was redeveloped for a multi-phased, mixed-use development anchored by a 123,600 square foot Kroger Marketplace which includes office space, restaurants, retail stores and a residential component called Chippenham Place. Some malls have even been converted to Amazon fulfillment centers and others to office buildings.

There are many other vacant malls that have repurposed their centers to bring in the small independent businesses. Yes, we are talking about the same businesses that struggled and lost business due to the now defunct chains.

NAR Reports that across the country local cities have joined in redeveloping these non-operational malls with tax incentives to bring in new tenants. Some malls have been redeveloped to include apartments and even walking/strolling paths and parks.

So, from all of today’s bad news, what is the good news? The good news is that the small business owner has returned to these now non anchored redeveloped malls and so have the jobs. Small businesses in the US provide over 60% of all employment per the Small Business Administration and create over 1.5 million jobs annually.  BusinessInsider.com confirmed that at least 3,300 chain stores are closing in 2020. The bad news of the big chains closing provides a much-needed opportunity for the “mom and pop” business entrepreneurs in the US.

Since 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has been assisting buyers and sellers of small businesses. Now we see the resurgence for small business owners who may have previously lost business due to the advent of shopping malls and big chains. As we said, from the bad comes the good.