Green Retailing Goes with Mainstream Format

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 9:01 PM EDT

Shopping MallGreen business is taking on a new form -- a shopping mall. Chicago's Green Exchange, scheduled to open in early 2008, will be the country's first shopping center for environmentally conscious and socially responsible businesses. A recent BusinessWeek article by Jeffrey Gangemi reports on the nature and strategy behind the new shopping mall:
The 250,000-square-feet building will hold about 100 vendors. And not just retail outfits. [...] Green Exchange will house an organic restaurant and café, a sustainable furniture store, a green building supply company, an eco-friendly printer, architects and designers focused on sustainability, an environmentally-friendly clothing company, a car-sharing service, a bike shop, and more. And the location is plum: an estimated 350,000 motorists pass the site each day.
The development is capitalizing on a booming market for all things green, organic, and socially responsible [...]. The Organic Trade Assn. says sales of organic foods are expected to expand by 20% annually over the next few years, and the market for green residential construction and building materials, not counting residential remodeling, is forecast to grow from $7.2 billion in 2005 to between $19 billion and $38 billion in 2010, according to the National Association of Home Builders and McGraw-Hill Construction.
By providing a concentration of green and socially responsible businesses, Green Exchange is helping small green providers get bigger and attract more business in an environment that reinforces their ideals. "Since we have this mission, having a place to rent that goes along with that mission is really important," says Ori Sivan, president of Greenmaker Supply, a Chicago-based building materials supply company that will be a Green Exchange tenant.
If the Green Exchange is successful, the idea of a green mall is expected to spread to other cities. It's easy to see how these new shopping centers, capitalizing on the green movement, could become either a big business opportunity, or a big competitive threat, depending on your business' green image.

(Image of Shopping Mall by Charlie Brewer, CC 2.0)