The American mall is dying, and dying, and, let me check... yep, still dying. Not just big huge malls, but big-box stores, and strip malls, and everything else that consists of chain stores shaped like boxes, made out of plastic, selling crap. America, in other words. Now our national landscape is littered with the only thing worse than big box stores: empty big box stores. Hey, ho, is there any solution?
Yes, in a manner, so to speak, assuming you have low expectations! The WSJ says that your crumbling Middle American post-industrial helltown's ghost-like empty roadside big boxes could soon be converted into brand new mid-market undifferentiated bland "casual dining" chains. With walls full of reproduced road signs and inexplicable knick knacks to gaze upon as you eat your Fiery Sizzlin Cheez Wings! That old Circuit City is now an Olive Garden. That old Blockbuster is now a Longhorn Steakhouse. That's... an improvement, right?
"There's a whole new dynamic going on, with retailers that are downsizing leasing space to others," says Tom Berzinski, vice president of real estate for Buffalo Wild Wings, which plans to open two restaurants in Sears stores next year. "We are very aggressively looking at their portfolio."
Tonight I just feel like eating in a Buffalo Wild Wings that used to be a Sears. Just sounds good.