Newest shopping centers have nothing on us
Walking into a typical shopping mall is like drinking homogenized milk. It's a good, safe product that's the same every time you try it, but there's no cream floating at the top to make it interesting.
Walking into a busy mall in Wichita, it struck us. This feels just like the one we visited in Austin, Texas, a few weeks earlier.
Or, we could have been in Omaha, Seattle or San Diego.
There are the usual chain stores and food courts, but there's little to make things interesting.
It was different on this week's visit to Omaha.
Papillion, actually, is home to a new type of shopping center that's springing up around the country.
Drive into one of the winding streets at Shadow Lake Towne Center, and you'll notice the difference immediately. There's angle parking in front of each of the stores, which look like they've been built to the individual shopkeepers' taste. There's a town square with a sculpture, and none of the homogenized sameness that make the traditional mall so dull.
Neither was the shopping experience boring and identical from store to store. One business had a fair selection of products, but the prices were a bit steep and the service stilted. We couldn't find anything we really wanted.
Another had appealing products at a fair price, and a friendly shopkeeper. We walked out of the store with several items.
It struck us that retailing has come full circle. From the uniform, regimented shopping malls of the 1970s, retailing has returned to the cozy downtown experience that McCook and other small towns have enjoyed all along.
It's up to us to make sure the experience really is enjoyable.