You might call this wishful thinking — it’s certainly the wish of many small business owners like the ones I met in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood the other day — but, as stated in today’s Sun column, I think the death of brick-and-mortar retail has been exaggerated. I suspect that, coming out of the pandemic, people who like to go shopping will get back to it. Shopping is a popular form of recreation for Americans, and it won’t easily be replaced by some other activity. I don’t see it going away for good.
Some people might never step into a store again, but I doubt that’s the majority.
The recent revelations about Amazon and how that company treats its employees is bound to turn off some shoppers. (Despite some momentary relapse, I’ve pulled away from Amazon for good.)
Also, my conversation with Kim Lane, who directs Main Street Pigtown, got me thinking about this: The pandemic made shop owners who never established an online presence get one, and that might be all they need to resume making a living. I might be completely wrong about this, but consumers who actually think about where they spend their money as well as how might come out of the pandemic with a renewed commitment to support local businesses. What do you think?