Chapter 10 is interesting in that it goes in an entirely different direction — not the use of a Walmart by another big retailer, or a completely different business, or a community group even. Instead, it focuses on the reuse in Kentucky to open a mini-mall of second-hand stores. Micro-businesses, in the parlance, or in this case, flea markets.
But with an innovative twist — a central check-out. All the vendors sell their wares just as Walmart has little divisions. Yet they are no competition for Walmart, so Walmart loves them. How many individual vendors? One store had over 300. The central checkout handles all the finances for them, along with most of the transactional paperwork. I think it is brilliant. Ripe for disruption, of course, but brilliant.
And the store renovation is as minimal as they can make it…splash some paint and they are good to go. Nobody cares, they just want an indoor space to sell their goods. The lower the overhead, the better. Even some of the original signage is still in place.
In the long run, however, the mini-malls are doomed to fail…once the main lease runs out, and the lease restrictions ease, larger retailers can come in, take the space, and increase the revenue for the site owner, just as it did with the race track in an earlier chapter. Yet, in the meantime, it’s a very different way to take over the space.