storefront of ideas


Mayo Clinic Retail Storefront at the Mall of America?

Forget the Mall for a moment, this is how corporate healthcare, or anyone could occupy Main Street. A skunkworks right? Incubating ideas? Spurring innovation?


I found the following story on NPR:

Internet Exiles Stores On Main Street
by Alan Greenblatt
– January 6, 2012

Open any children’s book with a scene set downtown and you’ll see a picture of basically the same row of shops. There’s a bookstore, a pharmacy, a florist, a post office and a bank, and maybe a bakery where the kids can hope for a free cookie.

Nearly all those businesses are under threat from the Internet…

So I’d gladly welcome the demise of the strip mall, even those that are thriving are a blight on the landscape and civic psyche and I discount that these car-convenient shopping outlets fit in the Main Street category. And I disagree that the “question now is what type of Main Street business will come under threat next.” And though the piece did suggest that storefronts providing services will be more resilient than those peddling goods, the questions remain: what will Main Street v2.0 look like? How will it function as a receptacle and reflection of our values and what place will it occupy in city life?


[storefront] Olson Kundig Architects/SAM collaborative: Record Store

The timing of this installation, which could also have been any one of these dioramas: the neighborhood’s independent bookseller, hardware store, bakery (pump in the croissant aromas for that 4D experience), butcher shop or cobbler in another era, requiring the deposing of some beloved institution, by some kind of WarMartian, socioeconomic or technological (in this case: Vinyl –> 8-track –> cassette –> CD –> mp3 –> the Cloud) paradigm shift, and the tweet that tipped me off, coincided with the chronic frustration I harbor for what ails Main Street and the role the legions of our new economy’s cottage industrialists, hidden away in their class A basement home offices telecommuting in their fuzzy slippers, warmed by the hum and glow of their carbon footprint, play in our community’s own demise.

Space for Lease.


Made in USA.

[storefront] immediately resonated with me as an idea like Occupy Main Street, a shift of priorities and a kind of playing along, a role in the physical fabric of our neighborhoods, communities, cities. Suspended disbelief until which time another era can reflect and romance its authenticity.

Perhaps we can make stuff again, hang our shingle out there in the glare of daylight in full view, and wrap our arms and brick and mortar around our virtual realities and social networks and be, citizen.