It’s mall the same with local shoppingWritten by Jim Ellis | | email@example.com
I decided to go out and see the new Maumee shopping center, The Shops at Fallen Timbers, for myself. Sheer idle curiosity, I suppose. There was no exclusive store I needed to visit and I have not been particularly excited about a mall opening since … what year was I born, again?
For those who haven’t been, The Shops at Fallen Timbers, much like The Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg, is built in the new “urban village” design with stores and shops clustered along a “Main Street” with acres of parking. The urban village, of course, replaced the mall concept, which consisted of a single building with acres of parking surrounding it.
The mall replaced the shopping center concept, which featured maybe a dozen shops and a couple of big stores strung out down a quarter mile of road. And, of course, centers replaced something called downtown, which featured stores and shops clustered together — without acres of parking.
So in 60 years or so, the greatest brains in retail architecture have invented the parking lot.
As I walked around, I thought about the old days when the first mall opened in Toledo. This was an incredibly hyped idea. “Hey, come to the Woodville Mall; dozens of stores all under one roof.” I seem to remember that they were mostly shoe stores. It seemed like there were 20 shoe stores in that mall, an amazing thing in those days when most people I knew had only three pairs: good, everyday and old (for working in the garden).
Some of us had tennis shoes, like po’ folks in the hood ever played tennis. A lot fewer shoe stores at this new complex. But it is not that different from the old shopping places. You can still buy clothes and shoes, and cookies and jewelry. There’s a bookstore, which is the place you’re most likely to find me. Teenage girls giggle along in packs, often followed by teenage boys jostling, close enough behind to be interested, but far enough back to be cool and pretend they’re not.
The drawing attraction of the new shopping place is just that it’s new. It has to be a new design to get the folks selling stuff to agree to move there, while the shiny new buildings draws the customers. Hey, even a non-shopping curmudgeon like me stopped by. So enjoy the new place, before gas prices make it important to move the shopping someplace accessible to public transit, like maybe Downtown.