and How to Re-Discover
ome of the most dynamic retailing destinations are found on
retail streets. For most of our country’s history, all retailing was
street retailing. The advent of shopping centers in the 1920s and
malls in the 1950s led to the demise of many of the great retail
streets in our country. Their relevance to retailing in America
and their place in the fabric of their community changed dramatically.
After World War II, there was a shift from urban neighborhoods to new
suburban neighborhoods. City planners and developers responded to the shift
in demographics from cities to suburbia by planning and developing open-air
shopping centers and enclosed malls. Each of these planned shopping destinations provided ample free parking, a critical mass of retail stores, promotional events and a climate-controlled environment. These conveniences and
the newness of these shopping environments made most retail streets obsolete
to the new generation of shoppers.