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With every product you can possibly buy only a click away on your computer, tablet or cell phone, the need to leave your home to shop is slowly becoming obsolete.

Refe B. Evan, a commercial real estate broker, with some 32 years of experience, recently wrote an article in Crain’s New York telling us not to fear, as he believes we are in the middle of a downward cycle.

Before the 1990s, success in New York City was difficult because of “high crime rates, dirty streets (Midtown in particular) and steep operating costs.” Then, the Gap tested the New York City waters and opened shop. Its success led to the Disney-World-like atmosphere we now see in Times Square – stores with “better presentation, selection, prices and products, all welcomed by locals and by-and-large coexisting with old mom-and-pops.”

Evans debunks the idea that smaller stores are dying off because of chains. “A close look at a typical NYC neighborhood shows that mom-and-pop merchants actually dominate the chains and enjoy remarkable longevity,” writes Evans.

The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, a 15-block area, is stocked with mom-and-pop stores – outnumbering chains 122 to 51. At least half of these small shops have been around for more than twenty years, demonstrating that they have an attractiveness or charm that still appeals to shoppers. “As consumers, we have made them successful because they are the best, the brightest, the most energetic,” Crain’s reads.

While noting an increase in multi-purpose drug stores and branch banks in Manhattan, Evans believes that is also part of the “natural cycle of ebb and flow,” and that the “equilibrium” will return, and retail will rise again. (It's just not clear, precisely when.)

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To read the full op-ed piece, please click here: https://www.crainsnewyork.com/op-ed/commercial-retail-will-stabilize-and-rebound