Beyond the Build

Construction Trends


In some ways, current retail direction mirrors retail of the past, with a renewed emphasis on neighborhoods, the storefronts where we live and “the experience.” It seems retail is becoming more focused on community, creating spaces where people spend time with friends and family. Shopping is part of the experience, but not the only goal.

In recent years, we frequently heard that the online shopping experience would continue the decline of “bricks and mortar” shopping. Both undoubtedly have their place, but it seems Gen Z is beginning to enjoy the physical space, as long as the retail encounter is well-designed, entertaining and relevant. The experience is still vital, but this “trend” is maturing and becoming more naturally ingrained in our lives again, as it was a few decades ago. After all, going where people already are means foot traffic is not entirely dependent on brands. Perhaps need and convenience can outweigh the cheaper real estate in the suburbs.

The jury is still out, but for now it seems the future is shaping up to look more and more similar to parts of the past.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.