Loading Episode...
Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 85
Reimagining Retail
00:00:00 00:30:13

Reimagining Retail


Reusing and Revitalizing Retail Spaces

In This Episode:

[02:57] Guest Michele Reeves is introduced.

[04:03] Michele talks about the impact she’s seeing from the decline of retail.

[06:52] Michele shares her thoughts about what to do with vacant retail spaces and what some of the obstacles are.

[10:48] Michele addresses huge parking lots.

[13:32] Michele expresses her thoughts regarding retail space based on sales tax revenue rather than need, and market studies.

[18:16] Michele describes strategies to make community corridors a destination.

[21:56] Michele shares what local businesses can do to have a more dynamic experience that can compete or complement e-commerce offerings.

[28:54] Michele states how people can get in touch with her and her firm, Civilis Consultants.


Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest and Organization:

Michele E. Reeves is an urban strategist with significant private sector experience revitalizing districts. Her qualifications, derived from over 16 years of work in various facets of renewal, include facilitating public/private partnerships, marketing unknown or undesirable districts, pre-development consulting, siting manufacturing facilities, strategizing acquisitions and development with private sector investors, and creating retail leasing plans. Michele founded Civilis Consultants to assist mixed-use districts, small businesses, property owners, and public sector organizations to recognize and leverage their strengths, identify and accomplish economic development goals, and craft their unique stories to create compelling, multi-faceted brands. Michele has a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Follow Michele on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s kind of funny. Even that phrase — ‘decline of retail’ — I would call it sort of a change in retail. And I think one of the things I would just say fundamentally about retail — there’s kind of a saying we have inside retail that retail is about reinvention, and that’s always true. Retail is always changing, and it’s always finding new avenues and expression for itself.” 

“I think the biggest impact that these changes in retail are having is that it’s leaving us — it’s a retail problem and a real estate problem because one of the biggest things it’s doing is leaving us with these really challenging land-use issues and a lot of vacant buildings that are, in some cases, difficult to reuse.”

“A lot of times the biggest obstacle to reusing these spaces as mixes of different kinds of space, whether it’s church space — which is another common reuse of old Walmarts or Kmarts — or whether it’s manufacturing or light manufacturing, or wholesale, or Internet sales and distributorship, is mostly the zoning often stops these spaces from being something else.”

“Everything that you do that’s brick and mortar, everything that is in person is really going to have to have fundamental elements of a really positive experience, expertise and knowledge, and service that you can’t get through the online experience.”


CIVILIS Consultants

Local Government Commission

CivicSpark Program

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018