History Of Shopping
Ever wonder about the history of shopping? One of the most beloved pastimes of Americans, both men and women, is the art of shopping. Some people will spend entire weekends in a shopping mall, while others plan vacations around which area has the best options for shopping. But what do you really know about this pastime?
The majority of the credit for the idea of planned shopping centers is given to a gentleman from Kansas City, MO, J.C. Nichols. His center, Country Club Plaza, was the first shopping district that was created outside of a major downtown area, which opened in 1922. His design was followed by additional strip centers being built as the auto industry began to monopolize the space in the business centers throughout the '20s.
However, the first completely planned shopping center wasn’t developed until 1931, the Dallas center developed by Hugh Prather, Highland Park Shopping Village. While it was similar to Country Club Plaza, the entire center was located on a single site and all the stores faced inward, the first design of its kind. This shopping center started the trend of anchor department stores surrounded by smaller chain or independently owned stores.
It wasn’t until 1956 that the first completely enclosed, two-story shopping mall was developed outside of Minneapolis. This mall created the design of a common area, which today is commonly a food court, as well as the trend of multiple, competing anchor stores. Throughout the next 30 years, the number of malls throughout the United States continued to rise as consumers looked for new and exciting ways to spend their free time-and money.
The quality and design of shopping centers has only continued to improve as technology increases. There is the Mall of America, featuring an indoor roller coaster and hundreds of stores. There are outlet malls, where bargain shoppers can find the name brand items they crave at a fraction of the price. there have even been huge tourist attractions such as the theme park Opryland in Nashville, TN turned into Opry Mills, which has become a major shopping attraction for the city.
As the world advances, so will the methods Americans meet their shopping needs. Now online shopping is all the rage. In a few years it could be something completely different. But in some cases, it is important to know where shopping came from and where it will be going. By knowing how the history of shopping evolved you can also understand how the future will as well.