It Goes On

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

16 August 2018

 It’s mid-August again! You know, that special time of year when everyone is on vacation, deals are put off until the new year, and you can’t decide if the summer has gone by really fast or if you’re still enjoying it. That initial lull feels nice, a break from the crazy rush of conference season. But after a while, the lull can make you worry.

Okay, we know it. Toys ‘R’ Us is out of business. Brookstone is closing over 100 retail locations. Malls are closing across America. To some, it may seem more than the end of an era. Retail jobs are disappearing, and the end of days must be near. The lulls these businesses were experiencing were not the cyclical summer lulls but business ending lulls. How can you tell the difference? Or will you not be able to tell until it’s too late?

The Great American Mall

The first mall in America opened in 1956. It was built for the new suburban middle class as a gathering center and a place for consumers to consume, for stores of all kinds to open their doors under one roof where the draw and foot traffic was plenty. Malls were built for business, not for consumers. But now the tides are changing.

Just because something worked brilliantly 62 years ago doesn’t mean it’s destined to thrive forever. Malls solved a problem that arose when moving to the suburbs was on the rise. They brought us together, even if it was under the guise of consumerism. But now our society has different needs. Much like the need for public bath houses ended when hot and cold water was available in our personal homes, the need for malls has become superfluous since shopping can now happen in the comfort of our own homes.

Don’t let the late-summer lull get you down. It’s not likely you’re facing the same fate as the American mall. And even if you were, Robert Frost wants to remind you:

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life — It goes on.