Retail Reinvented

The retail market is undergoing significant change, and the evidence is everywhere. Sears is closing its flagship downtown Chicago store. Macy’s is firing 2,500 employees. J.C. Penney is shutting 33 stores down. Meanwhile, Amazon is consistently churning out $800,000 in sales per employee. Best Buy struggles to do half as well. The sun may be setting on the traditional brick and mortar, big box retail mammoths. This shift has left numerous big boxes, such as shut down K-Marts or relocated Wal-Marts barren. What do you do with expanses of 150,000 square feet or more, interrupted only by support posts? Some unique uses have appeared including churches, schools, flea markets, bingo halls, call centers and medical spaces. Where are the retailers going?

Contemporary retailers are shifting towards new urban design, such as mixed use centers. In contrast to “the old days,” retailers now prefer to be within walking distance of office and residential space. Mixed use offers the most pure opportunity for this. For example, in Washington D.C., Wal-Mart has moved into a corner space alongside 200 residential units. Watch for these trends beginning in urban areas trickle into the suburbs, and eventually rural areas.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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