Big-box retail has undergone significant changes. In the past, families would pack into their minivans and head to expansive, well-lit stores to stock up on essentials. However, the rise of online shopping disrupted this routine, leading to the closure of many large retail locations and the disappearance of some retailers altogether.

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Yet, as communities contemplate the future of these spaces, one word keeps cropping up: Experience.

Online Spaces Are Convenient, but Cold

The one thing that online shopping has a hard time doing is providing a tactile experience. Whether it's a reason to come together as friends, or even a place to escape home for a bit (remember COVID?) people will always actively seek out places where they can create memorable moments, even if it's just to share them later on social media.

Bed Bath and Beyond Closes Stores In Effort To Stave Off Bankruptcy
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What Do Big-Box Spaces Have to Offer?

While retrofitting a historic building like a riverside mill often comes with numerous constraints, big-box retail spaces are essentially blank canvases. Add to that ample parking, central and easily accessed locations and you have something of a building conversion lover's dream.

Let's explore 20 outside-the-box ideas for how big-box spaces could usher in the next era of local experiences.

LOOK: 20 Outside-the-Box Uses for Vacant Big Box Stores

When a big box store shuts down, its closure can significantly affect the local community and its economy. In numerous instances, the emphasis has shifted from traditional retail to more experiential opportunities. Let's explore 20 innovative businesses and services that can make the most of these adaptable spaces.

Gallery Credit: Stephen Lenz

LOOK: 50 Famous brands that no longer exist

Stacker compiled a list of more than four dozen famous consumer brands that no longer exist, consulting sites such as TheStreet, Good Housekeeping, and Eat This, Not That!, along with numerous throwback sites dedicated to consumer brands.

Gallery Credit: Liz Barrett Foster


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