Deep Thoughts from Justin
The old Shopper's World was great in it's heyday, a plethora of flying saucers and the first theater in a mall ever. But when it came time to tear it down, it was replaced with the amazingly boring New Shopper's World. And it's all because of the Framingham Planning Board. The developers were throwing everything at the Board back in the mid-90's, yet all they would approve was the bland look of today's Shopper's World. If the developers had instead told the Board to "take it or leave it", you can bet that we've have a much better looking Shopping Mall. Ever seen the Best Buy in Worcester, or Nashua NH, or Portland ME? They all look like a Best Buy should: A cool looking blue box with a diagonal line going across. Ever seen the Linen's N' Things in Millbury, or Marlboro, or Portland ME? These stores use the corporate design as well: somewhat of a colonial styled house, but decent looking, not like a Stop and Shop. Think about it: if all of the stores looked like the corporate prototypes, then we'd have one cool looking Shopper's World, with each storefront renovated when new stores go in, as other plazas work.
Unfortunately, when a new tenant goes into Shopper's World, all they do is change the letters on the outside. That's it. Ever since then, with the sole exception of Kohl's, the Board hasn't approved a single corporate styling for use in the Golden Triangle.
If Shopper's World would use the corporate looks, then Target would have been free to use it on their store at the Framingham Mall. And we'd also be getting a generic Lowe's store. And for some reason things would look one heck of a lot more innovative. The Framingham Planning Board today would never have approved the dome at Shopper's World, or anything that made the area what it was in the day.
This isn't Albuquerque N.M., where even Walgreens Pharmacies are made out of adobe. This is the Golden Triangle, which doesn't have a style and shouldn't. Letting the retailers show who they are makes it easier for customers to distinguish stores from each other, lets retailers express themselves, and creates a more pleasant shopping area. As a reference, the new Shoppers at Blackstone Valley in Millbury does a great job at it, with big-box stores having their own style, while smaller stores that don't have a corporate style are clustered together with a New England-ish style that is surprisingly appealing.
Here's a joke: If the Framingham Planning Board was approached with an IKEA, what would it look like?