Online Retailers go Brick-and-Mortar

Peruvian AtelierDrive down just about any city street and you’ll see it lined with signs: “For Lease.” “Available.”

Who’s to blame?

You’re probably thinking the internet. Something like… “the convenience of online shopping is turning Mayberry into a ghost town.”

Well, think again.

Those empty store fronts you see all over the place are a fluke. The empty spaces are actually filling up.

In 2012, retail vacancy dropped to slightly more than 10-percent, according to the Weitzman Group.

The internet is, partly, to thank. Internet retailers, that is.

“We started online because we figured it was the easiest way to start getting our name out there. Getting out product online. Being able to reach a more vast market,” said Nicole Castagnet, co-owner of Peruvian Atelier.

Castagnat just opened her second DFW store in the Shops of Highland Park. The first is in Fort Worth’s trendy West 7th district.

“I think they were also looking for the right tenant to be here,” said Castagnet, of the storefront she now fills in Highland Park. It sat vacant for years. “We do want to expand and we want to grow and we want people to wear our clothes.”

She gets more visibility. The city gets more sales tax.

Everyone wins.

Well, everyone except for the guys who produce those “For Lease” signs.


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