The Green Retail Center Concept of 2011

As with my previous Nicollet Mall posting, I again have my queenly magic wand out.  For Earth Day 2011,  I am focused on creating the perfect green strip center.  Think of it as THE DESTINATION Green Strip Center.  Here is what we need to give people a new way to think about green retail:

Anchor #1: a green local food store.  It could be a grocer like D’lish or a restaurant dedicated to local foods like Spoonriver.  It MUST be a CSA drop off point for at least one CSA.  Preferably more than one – such as a cheese or meat CSA and vegetable CSA.  That drives people to the location every week to pick up their CSA boxes and give the center another reason to become a regular destination.  It also must sell food that can be consumed on site at outdoor picnic tables.

Anchor #2: a resale shop on a large scale like ARC Value Village or Goodwill.  The shop must accept both drop offs and be a well-merchandised shop.  Other possible selections could be a consignment shop like Play It Again Sports, Plato’s Closet or Once Upon a Child.

Small-scale interior shops:

A toxin-free dry cleaners like Mulberrys.

A locally-owned coffee shop with free wi-fi and organic free trade coffees and tea like Peace Coffee

A printer cartridge recycler like Rapid Refill.

A bicycle repair/retail shop like Erik’s or Penn Cycle.

A nature oriented shop like Wild Birds Unlimited or an organic pet food store.

An on-site ice creamery like Crema Cafe or Sebastian Joe’s.

Do this right and a quick-serve restaurant like Chipotle will want to be a part of it,  too.

Then, the key is to find a retail location that is adjacent to a bike trail, has room for outdoor seating areas, put in bike racks and select parking spaces for electric car charging stations.   Dedicate a storefront as a community room adjacent to the coffee house that is available for meetings.  Do a few other green things like a water permeable parking lot, rain gardens, beehives on the rooftop that produce honey available in the grocery or as an ingredient in the ice cream.  Create a community marketer position who connects to the target market with relevant events and partnerships and you have the recipe for a successful new green destination retail strip center that differentiates the retailers who lease the space and the community that supports it.

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