We’ve shared in the past why big box chain stores might not be the best thing for a community, not just because they put small retail shops out of business – costing the community a lot of money and causing a net loss of jobs – but also, when they decide they aren’t making enough corporate profit and close one or more of their locations [this is happening more frequently as online retail continues to grab up market share], they leave many communities with a giant, vacant retail space that is almost impossible to fill.
Fortunately, community members across the country who are truly invested in their area, have come up with clever and innovative ways for big box reuse.
Many architects across the country have proposed developing box store apartment communities. And in Big Box Reuse, author Julia Christensen shares how in some communities, churches are taking over old KMarts, or turning an abandoned Wal Mart into a library. There are also cases of turning abandoned large retail spaces into museums, schools, courthouses and recreation centers. These are all re-uses that could be considered here in one or more of the many big box stores that have been left vacant on Cape Cod.
We also cooked up a plan of our own to take back the big box! It might only be for two days, but our LoveLocal Fest :: Holiday Edition will be popping up in the former Sports Authority space in Capetown Plaza in Hyannis on December 1 (5-9pm) and December 2 (11am-5pm). Thanks to the generosity of WS Development, we will be opening up the abandoned box store for a community event where we will host over 110 local vendors (all small, local businesses!) for an evening and a day of holiday shopping. And maybe, just maybe it will spark some more ideas about how to fill up the vacancies that are not representative of how vibrant and full Cape Cod really is.