Follow the Leader
I think it’s exciting to watch retail going back downtown.
I remember shopping in big downtown department stores years ago, and I remember when the big retailers began their exodus to suburban malls leaving huge, sad-looking buildings behind.
But retail, as they say, follows rooftops, and the rooftops were springing up in suburbia and then further out in edge communities. Today, we all have a number of friends and acquaintances that commute for an hour or more in each direction every day.
I may have those long commutes to thank for helping to start a retail migration back downtown. Today’s up-and-coming generation of millennials hate the very idea of commuting.
Millennials want to walk to work or maybe take a 10-minute subway ride. After work, they want to walk to a restaurant or a grocery store and then home. They want to walk to the movies, theater, craft fairs, Little Italy and everything else cities locate within walking distance.
Millennials are moving their rooftops downtown, and retailers, as they always do, are following.
The new and rising generation of downtown retail won’t look anything like old downtown retail. It will have some new look that is beginning to evolve right now, thanks to millennials. Hey millennials: Way to go to town.