Just recently, another article floated into my inbox, Sanford mall struggles as Macy’s leaves, but downtown booms with restaurants, boutiques. It was another article supporting a trend that I had been noticing with the shopping areas around Volusia County too, big malls are on the way out while smaller shopping centers are on the rise.
Some might chalk it up to another “Millennials are killing”type article, but it is more likely the pendulum swinging back to small customer service focused businesses and an interest in quality experience over a shopping convenience.
We are still seeing large malls such as the Tanger Outlet and Tomoka Town Center, One Daytona, and other shopping complexes pop up, but these are being built much closer to the interstate and other high traffic roads, as both young adults and retirees are looking for places to work, play, and live all within their own neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Historic Downtown areas such as Mainstreet DeLand or the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach are attracting smaller shops that cater to a more individualized market. On Mainstreet DeLand you can find shops such as Anna Bananas, the Anointed Olive, The Muse Bookshop, Wily Owl Toy Store, and Florida Victorian Architectural Salvage,to name a few, in addition to many individually owned and operated restaurants to satisfy even the pickiest pallet.
So, does this mean that the older malls are on the demolition block? Not just yet. Retailers and businesses are always looking for new spaces where they can appeal to a broader market. The older malls are finding new business in Niche Market Entrepreneurs and “non-traditional” mall business such as fitness centers, or child play spaces, such as Athletic Apex or My Little Town - Indoor Playground both at the Seminole Town Center, or even community colleges. There are even a few malls around the country that have been converted into housing! Who knows what the future has in-store.