Here’s a good idea for downtown retail

The financial crisis, among other things, will make large scale building and revitalization very difficult over the next few years, if not longer.  That doesn’t mean that we should be passive in accepting it.  We still need a thriving downtown and we still need people to start and grow local businesses.

Below is a picture of what has been done in La Spezia, Italy.  On one of the main streets of the city, these insta-stores have sprouted up.  There are at least 6,  each selling something different, from books, to clothes, to kitchen wares.  Simple to construct, cheap to operate, and providing small business a low overhead, these structures have added new life to the street.

In downtown Lexington, we’d have to find places where the sidewalk was wide enough – or, gasp, where we could close a lane of street to allow their installation. The goal would be to transition these businesses into storefronts once the business became more viable.

We need to get creative and try out non-conventional ideas.  Otherwise, we’ll be at the mercy of global forces beyond our control.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Here’s a good idea for downtown retail

  1. Rod lindauer

    Jane has a ton of vintage clothing and accessories, more than enough to start a store, but the crazy high cost of retail space keeps her selling on eBay. There is no smaller retail space available. A plaza space like this would be perfect.

    • that is exactly what I pictured….the city could help finance the structure, then help the small business person with a business plan, and then set them up in the box. What a neat concept for everyone involved. You have a good eye – how much could building something like that cost?

      • Rod lindauer

        I’d say that a stand alone unit that supplied it’s own power could be built in a mobile home factory in the region for under $4000 each. Just a guess off the top of my head. It would be great to get UK architecture and manufacturing processes involved. The modules could be delivered on roll back trucks and easily slid in place. There are several models of micro retail and pop-ups based on shipping containers. I think those would be more expensive based on the initial cost of the containers and the difficulty in retrofitting.

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