Your dusty old Blockbuster store holds the secret to the future of the strip mall
Source: Reader submissions
Although no one type of business has come to dominate the empty spaces left behind after Blockbuster shut down, our research, which is based on data from Hoursmap.com – containing over 4,000 Blockbuster locations in the U.S., has shown a few noticeable trends: restaurants, pizzerias, fast food chains, and urgent-care or other medical facilities were some of the most common to move in.
Why those? These kinds of businesses are relatively insulated from the explosive growth of e-commerce, says Sam Chandan, associate dean of New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. Indeed, they’re stores that often require your physical presence in them or that provide goods and services that can’t easily be purchased online. “Anything you can get delivered, that you can consume in your own home … those are the kinds of goods that are vulnerable to the e-commerce revolution,” William Goetzmann, a professor of finance at the Yale School of Business, told Moneyish.
Note: Population is based on 2010 census
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, HoursMap
Indeed, e-commerce growth has exploded since the turn of the millennium: The total value e-commerce in the United States hit $27.61 billion in 2000; 15 years later, that number skyrocketed up to $340.42 billion in 2015. And growth forecasts putting the number up to as much as $459.23 billion by the year 2020
Real estate professor Kevin Gray of the Yale School of Management agrees: “I’ve seen health care centers, I’ve seen call centers, gymnasiums, fitness centers like Climate Fitness,” he summarized. His prediction is that strip malls will continue to operate, albeit predominantly with different kinds of businesses — in some cases, “experiential businesses,” like restaurants that bring people together — but that major retailers aren’t going out the window in the immediate future.
“These retail chains don’t die like in a war movie, where someone gets shot,” Gray told Moneyish. “They did like a tree, one limb a time. JCPenney and Kmart are taking forever.”
If you want to keep mining this nostalgia sphere, then scope out the style in this Friday night rental scene, revisit rare Blockbuster employee training artifacts, or follow the last Blockbuster on Twitter.
Data sources: Hoursmap.com, Google Maps
Sources: Washington Post, NBC, Business Insider, Blockbuster, Netflix, The Guardian, Don’t Waste Your Money
Note: The list of addresses found on Hoursmap.com were geocoded using the Google Maps Geocoding API. Plenty of locations were removed or added based on further manual investigation. Geocoded locations may not appear exactly over rooftops, especially when in large strip malls or places without unique address numbers.
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