You can learn a lot about a place and its people by how they shop. That’s what I’ve discovered after a lifetime of writing about, yes, malls.
My old bosses at the International Council of Shopping Centers say that shopping centers are the most efficient and cost-effective way of getting products to people, and that they improve standards of living. Other people I know say they’re blights on the landscape and kill small downtowns. The best centers, though, work with and are a part of their communities. They have their own stories to tell.
A native Brooklynite, I grew up shopping in department stores. But as a journalist, consultant and mall maven, I’ve spent more than two decades writing about the growth of the retail and shopping center industries around the world, learning the stories behind the malls and their builders.
Now, as President of my own consultancy, I help some of them communicate with their business partners. I’ll let you know when I’m writing about a client — but the goal here is to tell stories about people and properties, about the projects that get it right (and the occasional one that got it really really wrong), why and what they reveal about their shoppers and all of us.