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RE-vamping vacant big box store retail locations

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posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:22 PM
IDK about where you live but where I am there are many large big box stores that are empty. I'm talking about stores like old K-Marts, Sears, department stores, sporting good stores, grocery stores, even older (smaller) wal-marts. Some of these locations aren't even 15 years old when another large shopping center pops up across the street with larger stores (often same stores just larger) and new companies. Some of these stores will sit vacant for years at great expense to the property owner (they were usually leased by the companies) and some are just demolished after a certain period of time before they even made their money back on original construction!

Now we all know who has been hit hardest with these big box stores, the smaller independent "mom & pop" stores and the problem is that almost none of these small companies can afford to rent one of these large buildings and the rent in smaller shops in the centers is usually prohibitively high in comparison to the sq footage of the larger ones. Let's say a 140,000ft big box rents at $50,000/month (IDK if that is even close, just an example) and a 7,000 sq ft store might be $6,500/mo - so 20 =$130,000/mo in rent for all the 20 shops of equal total sq footage. That is a 260% increase in rent price.

Now we all remember malls, some are still very successful, others not so much. They work on the ideal of having large "anchor" stores and then lots of small shops surrounding them. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be possible to do something like this with the big box stores where the store is partitioned off into sections where shop owners have their own area and pay rent accordingly. They could have a large warehouse in the back of the main shopping area for each of the renters (like caged merchandise areas) or even within the shop they could have a back store room.

The layout could be a little more open than what we see in malls, IDK if the smaller shops need to have ceilings, I guess it would depend on the product(s). I think having dividers would be essential between merchants as well as a set entrance/exit location to keep track of customers/theft/etc.

If enough people were interested in this, then they could bring back what would be essentially a large indoor mall or sorts or even something like a continual "flea market" within the building.

I was also playing with the idea of one of these buildings working as a consignment shop that sells used goods, much like ebay, where items are brought in, priced (with an employee and owner of goods), then placed on shelves for the customers to look through. The store gets a commission for the sales (which goes to pay for pricing, display, sales process and security) and the owner of the goods gets a set commission (could vary on items, how quickly they sell, and many other things).

There are so many thrift shops around where people bring in their donations and the stuff is then sold by the "charity" often at outrageous prices (especially when it was free to them). Salvation Army and Good Will operate like this, but the people who donate don't get any proceeds.

The sales process could also be incorporated with an online shop where people could view current items, order and have them shipped. Employees would pick the items (get them from the shelves) and then package and ship. I guess it could be incorporated with Ebay as well if you wanted to pay the Ebay fees.

I could see, with a proper operating procedure (emphasizing on theft deterrence) that this could be fairly profitable as the store doesn't need to invest in any products. People bringing in the merchandise would be required to help create descriptions for the item (maybe with help from employee) if they want them to be placed online, and at minimum, give a general description of the item, use, price (original, asking, etc) etc so employees know where it should be placed. A unique barcode or other ID could make each item unique and easily rung up, and the proper "owners" account could be credited.

They could institute something like if it doesn't sell w/n 2 weeks, the price is reduced 10%, 4 weeks, 25%, 6 weeks, 50%, etc (or whatever) - contingent upon owners approval. Items not sold will be collected and returned, thrown away, donated, etc at the owners request. Charges may apply for non-sale-able items (to incentivize people from dumping garbage on the store).

So this last example would be a very large thrift/consignment store where the inventory is ever changing, view able online (and purchasable online) and would give people reason to come in and bargin hunt often to see what new goods have come in. New goods could be kept in a certain area for like 1 week, then moved to their proper location within the store where they stay until sold or removed from the store (returned to owner).

So, do either of these ideas sound like a good way to make user of some of these large empty big box stores? I know where I am the thrift stores get A LOT of business b/c they put new stuff out all the time and it is always unique-ish, not the same china-stuff that every other store has. This could also extend to furniture, antiques and all manner of neat stuff. It would be like a higher quality flea market that was open every day.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:30 PM
So turn them into strip malls and flea markets?

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:39 PM
Bring back the Swap Meet.
Bought my first play station
at a swap meet in Chicago back in the day

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:43 PM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

There is no easy solution.

Your proposal would just hurt more standalone properties or small strip I'd think.

One school district by me turned a closed school into the meeting spots and offices of a number of charities and non-profits.

I thought that was a pretty cool idea. I don't know if it's a great financial move, but it's great from a community standpoint.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:53 PM

originally posted by: watchitburn
So turn them into strip malls and flea markets?

Only kind of. I left out a few key ideas to save the length of the post. There are a couple ways it could be managed, either as one large corporate entity that is in charge of the SALE of goods inside, or have many small independent shops/areas that are staffed independently by the shop owner. I'm REALLY not thinking about a big box store filled with flea market stuff that is $1-2 (or less) - though there may be days where stuff like this could be sold in a parking lot sale where the owners could be present as well.

Where I live there are "flea markets" and farmers markets - (where 80+% of goods are new) and these places do extremely well and they travel to different markets many times a week, having to set up/tear down every day. It is A LOT of work doing it this way and they loose a lot of business due to the hours and only being in one location once a week.

We also have hundreds or thousands of small businesses most who live here have never heard of but they make some really amazing stuff. Word of mouth is often how people find these things but the merchants would do much more business if there was a central location where they could display goods, even if it was only display items or a "catalog" or examples of work - which would be ordered and either delivered direct to customer or to the store where it could be picked up.

Imagine if you had a few items that you made that would take up a shelf 2-4ft wide x 6ft tall (mabye 4-8 levels of shelves) where an item could be displayed for customers to review - maybe with a product leaflet/brochure, cataloge, etc. If they had questions they could call the number displayed at your shelf section. They decide to buy, seller drops off item, is held at store for pickup by customer or ships direct. not much different than how some things work at Walmart now with outside vendors in some ways. All this could be done through the company (big box store) website, where they take a % of the sale.

Also, some sellers could also have their products on shelf for sale, no need to order, just take to register as well. It just depends on the items, size, cost, if it is custom (meaning the ordered item would be a custom design), etc.

I've come up with about 3-5 different options for this kind of thing and they all have advantages and drawbacks, all of them have potential of being successful with the correct management and traffic flow.

Think about how many people go to these "deep discount" stores that buy seconds or odd-lots (think "Big-Lots" or Ollies) and how their inventory is ever changing. I know people who go there very often just to see what new stuff has come in and they often find pretty awesome stuff priced really well, and also some real junk. But with these stores most of the stuff is all big name manufacturers who are clearing out old stock, unsuccessful products, etc - but some people love "unsuccessful" products b/c it fit their needs perfectly and they'll buy them out of the product.

With what i'm describing, there are basically endless ways that this could be run with a mix/match of new, used, custom hand made goods, etc.

There are many small artists who make things that have workshops where they display their goods, the thing is that they dont' get a lot of business b/c not much traffic through their little shop. By having a small display in a big store like this, it increases the chances of someone seeing your goods buy 1000-10,000x (basically the # of people walking by) vs the 1-10 that may come through a home office shop at the back of your property.

This might be largely dependent upon the area in which the store is located. Places where there are alot of antiques, unique items and skilled craftsmen might have a better chance of filling a store like this with interesting goods.

It's also not out of the question to offer services though this location either, especially those which are less common and people may not know they exist. Putting it in a place where people are browsing may garner a lot of attention which otherwise would never exist.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:57 PM
Our whole economic system is so messed up. Sooner or later we will be forced to buy everything on line or buy from just a couple of big chain stores. That kind of system is bad for our country, but it makes us more vulnerable to government control so the government likes us being dependent on this kind of thing.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 03:58 PM
It's actually a decent idea, depending on how it's implemented.

There's a store in Grand Rapids that is set up like a flea market in operations concept, but looks like a regular secondhand store otherwise. We'd looked into selling some of my late grandmother's belongings at one point before ultimately donating them, but the concept was fairly simple -- you as a seller rent a space, and fill it with whatever you're selling. IIR, the spaces ranged a bit in square footage to suit needs. You pay a space rental fee and voila, you can sell whatever you want.
We used to go in it quite regularly when we were looking for a few additional furniture pieces for the bedrooms, the item turnover seemed to be pretty quick. Every single time we were in there, a lot of what was in there before was gone or had "sold" tags on it.

This concept could certainly work in vacant malls/strip malls, BUT, and this is a big has to be appealing to work. Nobody's really into the old fashioned open-air flea markets anymore, they barely exist. Atmosphere counts, and that's not the atmosphere people want, not with open stall style sellers. Perhaps empty stores re purposed & dedicated to specific things such as only kitchenware, or only home scents (incense, candles, oils, etc) for artisans, clothes, etc would be a better idea than old school stalls.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:04 PM

originally posted by: pavil
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

There is no easy solution.

Your proposal would just hurt more standalone properties or small strip I'd think.

One school district by me turned a closed school into the meeting spots and offices of a number of charities and non-profits.

I thought that was a pretty cool idea. I don't know if it's a great financial move, but it's great from a community standpoint.

I like the idea of swap meets, but I've never seen one. I think they may still be around in Cali from what I've heard.

The reason I thought of this was that there has been talk of tearing down a lot of these big box stores, and not with the intention of re-building something else, so IDK what would be done with the space.

What I DO know is that most people I know (at least those 30+) HATE big box stores for the most part, not the size, but that most all of them have the same stuff.

Wouldn't a store of this size filled with oddities, curiosities, stuff of old, be interesting? Think of all the boomers who are going to downsize soon. Many have so much stuff collected over the years, much of it is REALLY GOOD stuff that was made from the 1950's to 1990's before a lot of stuff was made in China. People actually pay top dollar for some of this stuff.

We have a vibrant tourism industry here and people buy tons of stuff at farmers markets/flea markets, etc. People drive for 100's of miles to come here and pick over our auctions b/c a lot of the stuff is in great shape and is original American made stuff from pre-post WWII.

A store like this, IMHO, would be huge with the tourists. They spend massive amounts of $$ at outlet stores, stuff you can find in just about any city, and the prices at the outlets aren't really better than a sale price at a store. IDK the attraction. What I do know is that tourists like to buy things on vacation, ESPECIALLY if it is unique, quality, rare, useful, etc. I think something like this has much more appeal than going to the Ralph Lauren outlet, buying a pair of Chino's, polo shirt and a towel.

When you can mix in unique, high quality, hand crafted items that are made in the local area, I think that will draw in many more tourists than the outlets which are located in just over 300+ other locations across the US (with the same stores in most of them).

Just my perspective, and I'm stickin to it!

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:05 PM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

Re-purpose them for housing for the homeless or low income.

I lived in Colorado once in an apartment building that used to be a school... my apartment was the old library.

The best part was in the winter when we used to get tipsy, go to the old gymnasium, crank up some tunes on the old speaker system and play rollerskate basketball.

Fun times...

edit on 23-7-2018 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:15 PM
Sure. Great ideas. But someone owns the land. Someone owns the building. Someone pays for maintenance on those buidlings. And "re-purposing" means "spend lots of money." So who is going to pay for all this?

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:15 PM
Startup incubators; small offices, fitness center, hairdresser salon, cafes, dentist, doctor, post office. Successful shopping malls did that in Norway.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:23 PM

originally posted by: rickymouse
Our whole economic system is so messed up. Sooner or later we will be forced to buy everything on line or buy from just a couple of big chain stores. That kind of system is bad for our country, but it makes us more vulnerable to government control so the government likes us being dependent on this kind of thing.

This is EXACTLY why I thought of this. AS a means of being able to bring back the small shops (at a reasonable level of rent/overhead) where they can be grouped together in one central location and maybe have a fighting chance against the big box stores.

while I love the idea of shopping on "Main St" it is hard work, so to say. There might be 3 shops I like in the city, then in the 12 surrounding towns/mini-cities, there maybe 1-4 shops in each of these places, but the problem is I would have to drive close to 300 miles to get to all of the 12 locations (and factor in traffic in small towns, parking each time, etc) and you can see why the convenience of big box stores are nice.

Now if you had lots of these stores under one roof, not quite like a mall, more like a big-box with departments (independently owned) where you would have lots of stores/departments from which to choose - these mom-pop's stores. people have to drive to one location. Now this does sound a lot like a mall, but here is the difference.

When I go to a mall, in Philly, in NYC, in LA, SF, SD, etc I would say that 50% of the stores are chains that I see in every mall, the other 50% are a mix of local corporate stores (usually with many locations) and occasionally a few mom-pops stores. The reason for this is the high rent in malls. Even malls with high vacancy the cost to rent a store is ridiculous, bordering on insane. It is like they want them to fail.

So if actual LOCAL mom-pops' shops could make a corp that rents the big-box building (maybe even have votes on what stores are allowed..? exclude large chain retailers??) then they could get much lower rent (comparatively to renting in a mall or independent strip mall locations) and they would have much higher traffic flow than a strip mall and MUCH higher flow than main st.

Something has to be done to compete against the big box mega retailers. IDK if it is too late, but a different strategy is needed for sure. The only way the small stores are going to survive is if they work together and the only way I see this happening is through an idea like this, and also if saying on Main st, doing the promotion nights like "First friday" or "Second Saturday" where there are events on Main St to bring in a crowd.

If we only have big box stores then we all loose, especially - well , everyone but the BB owners & share holders. When the little shops disappear, BB prices will go up, online prices will go up, and everything is going to get more expensive, less variety and probably worse quality. Wages will go down If that is possible.

If there was an option as I outlined and a TRUE competitor to the big box stores then people may actually be able to boycott the BB's in a meaningful way.

On another note, I think there needs to be some kind of way for small stores to price match the big box, or at least meet 1/2 way in price w/o the store taking a big hit. Many BB's done' pay local or state sales tax (they keep it as a benefit of doing business in the community!! That is a 5-9% increase in profit for them and is totally unfair. If these companies can get this kind of benefit, no wonder they can low-ball the prices. This is a subsidy for the BB's and if they get it then it is the Gov's fault and something needs to be done to help the mom-pop's. Like this.

BB sells item for $2.99 - MSRP is $5.29, mom-pop sells for $4.99 - $2 diff from BB store. The mom-pop should be able to sell it for $2.99 (or $3.99 if they do a 50% match) and be able to write off a $1-2 loss against their profit if not refunded outright from the local government (but where would the $$ come from for that). This write off/deduction would help in their over-all tax bill, having to pay less. There are a number of other methods which could be used to help these companies against the Goliath's that are bribing governments and stealing state sales tax.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:29 PM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

RE: vamping vacant big box store retail locations

Why not say what you really want: Vampire Convention Centers.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:30 PM
Sounds like you have a reactive Chamber of Commerce who can't enforce commercial zones, but understandably you can thank Obama for the closures. It was about a year after his first term this same thing happened in Colorado Springs.

a reply to: DigginFoTroof

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:37 PM

originally posted by: schuyler
Sure. Great ideas. But someone owns the land. Someone owns the building. Someone pays for maintenance on those buidlings. And "re-purposing" means "spend lots of money." So who is going to pay for all this?

I'm not asking it for free. I'd expect it to be paid for by the new tenets, or the cost build into the lease. I worked in 2 of the big box buildings (about 3 years total) and I know how they are set up. Some could even be 2 levels IF it was desired. Sure it would cost $ but the way they hand out development $$ around here, I can't see how they couldn't' get it, especially if it was benefiting local business owners as there would be more support for this than you could ever imagine - people are fed up with chain BB stores destroying pristine land.

The idea of what they did in Norway is also a great idea. I can't see why they couldn't incorporate "service" providers into a store like this. As I mentioned that the stores can accommodate a 2nd floor, that might be an even better idea if service providers could make use of that area - essentially b/c I am assuming (possibly incorrectly) that there would be less weight required for things like a dentist office vs shelves stacked with merchandise, though could be wrong.

I'm certainly not saying that my idea is the only one, nor the best, but for my area, I think it would have a great chance of being very successful, especially given the locations of current vacancies (and the tourism).

I'd really love to hear others ideas (hopefully constructive - or noting possible issues) and thoughts on this idea. I want to make it clear that this isn't meant to be a "trash flea market" where people sell stuff pulled from the dumpster (joking kind of) in their areas/booths. We have those at actual flea markets and they actually do surprisingly well.

Considering the size of the parking lot, I could also see there being some special out-door "attractions" on holidays (memorial day, 4th july, labor day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc) There are a lot of options that could be worked through but I think not doing anything to combat the BB threat is worse than trying something like this and having it not pan out. It's only a matter of time until their strangle hold gets tighter and tighter, esepcially with the Admin's acceptance of large corporate mergers
and the dominance of some online companies.

On another note, there were a few studies where they think Newspaper is going to make a return in a big way (some are betting on this) as Hipsters get a little older and start to hate their "screens". So maybe that means what was old, may come back around in a big way in the next 5-15 years??

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:42 PM

originally posted by: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

RE: vamping vacant big box store retail locations

Why not say what you really want: Vampire Convention Centers.

Been there, done that here. U know where I live?? Or are you calling my idea "Vampire Conventino Centers", if that is the case, that is about as far off as possible in what I am talking about.

As for having a reactive chamber of commerce, I would have to say kind-of to yes to that, it seems like the development around here was more politically motivated (by big name developers in the area - dey seem to gets what dey wants) no matter if 95% of the public is against it, if traffic is already a nightmare (lets increase store entrance traffic by 300-400% and not widen road! - yayyyy!!) and there are already other major shopping centers build 2-3 years ago only 1/2 filled.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:46 PM
I heard they make great detainment centers for illegals. Can we ship a few hundred your way?

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:52 PM
never going to happen and wont be a popular answer but i would like to see them set up for smokers.
lot of money changes hands at those things and im sure there is a way the state can collect its share.

regulate it in a way that the house/state gets a cut of all bets placed and/or all bets won... something like that

the house can take live action online via its live stream

lets call it mma rules but no weight classes. something like that

so a not quite regulated but not quite unregulated smoker.

loads of money.

i fought a dozen times 20 years ago in florida and i could see back then there was money to be made.

now with online. the house can charge for the stream and then they can take bets on the site.

logistically i dont know how to make it work but i would like to see that.

# man even now at 40 years old. there are times where we have come up short and i fast 75 or 100 bucks would have saved our ass. it would be nice to know i had that option.
sign waivers and all that.

it will never happen cause the regulation and nature of it but thats my answer.

i am sure it major cities and certain concentrated hubs these kinds of events still go on but most of your every day people will not know about them.

let adults make a choice.

they let us sign waivers to go sky diving or dive with sharks or drive a nascar car. why not this?

edit on 23-7-2018 by TinySickTears because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 05:00 PM
I think you have some good ideas for vacant lots.

But, let's fix the problem and quit looking for creative was to dress this pig.

The corporations have leveled the competition by buying out the politicians and creating tax laws that make them filthy rich.

If the gov can't make equal tax rates they need gone.

It's like their only fn' job. Make us profitable.

Corps were the only ones that were supposed to be paying income tax.

They changed that.

Demand an end to 24/7 sex scandal distraction and end income tax.

...Or we will be stuck in this bs corporaton country nightmare.

Nobody notices the worthless divide and distract news, I keep getting F'd.

Going back to the constitution would be a good start, and before they illegally
molested the tax section to make themselves rich.

They are running an open no-limits tab on our labor.

posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 05:03 PM
they could legalize federally and use all that land to grow and process

works for me

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