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An interesting study of old store locations is the town of Minden Louisiana (not far from Shreveport). It is a small southern town with one main highway (strip) running in/out. Most all fast food restaurants, big boxes, dry cleaners, and everything else are located on the one strip with downtown being one end and countryside on the other.
Wal-mart has recently moved for the third time in the direction away from downtown and is now located on the far end. Wal-mart old stores have both been left vacant closer in on the strip. As you imagine, every time Wal-mart moves, so does everyone else. McDonalds, Pep Boys, the dry cleaners, etc., leaving spans of vacant strip malls in between downtown and the new Wal-mart center.
My friend owns (with his father) a third generation family owned Western Auto located downtown. Last summer they debated moving out by the New Wal-Mart, but decided not to leave down town. My friend also lives downtown in the historic district (but this is not considered cool there, there historic just means old).
I stayed with him last winter on my way through and we went to grab some lunch. I was at his house, so I walked up to his downtown store (I figured we would also walk to eat). Well there are no places to eat downtown, so we got in our car, drove 10 minutes past all he vacant strip malls, and ate out by the new Wal-Mart. We did not have a choice.
The older strip malls are vacant and deteriorating, the housing behind the old strip malls are not boosting in value, and as my friend (who recently decided to quit the family business and pursue is MBA) puts it, “We’re dying on the vine my friend, Minden is dying on the vine”