Future of the Crystal River Mall, Crystal River, Florida
By Paul Rux, Ph.D.
“The wisest owl hears all before he flies.” - Chinese Proverb. Before decisions are made about the future of the Crystal River Mall, this proverb invites decision makers to research all workable options. Here is a workable option worthy of research for the Crystal River Mall.
As the year 2,000 approached, this writer purchased a copy of Rethinking the Future by famed Northwestern University marketing expert Philip Kotler. In it, Kotler analyzed the coming collapse of the middle class in America in the 21st century and how it would gut shopping malls. Kotler’s mall fix was to rehab their infrastructure into enclosed “360” full-service, gated communities for seniors. Turn the empty chain stores in the collapsing shopping malls into condos, apartments. Invite healthcare, food vendors, clothing, and other services to become part of the mix. Residents then would be able to literally walk to a “360 mix” of stores and services in comfort, safety regardless of the weather.
This writer cannot believe what he read in 2,000 has now come true in Crystal River. Kotler’s forecast and fix make sense for the Crystal River Mall. The main economic engine in the area is demographics: retirees and snow birds. Turning the tottering Crystal River Mall into an enclosed, gated, “360” service community aligns its future with these powerful demographic and related economic trends. Crystal River, if it acts now, could enjoy “first-mover” advantages in the marketplace and be a statewide model. Before investing in other options, research this “360 Service” option for the Crystal River Mall. Be like the “wises owl” in the opening Chinese Proverb. “The wisest owl hears all before he flies.”
Paul Rux, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin - Madison) and his wife Jane are snow birds in Crystal River for the fourth year in a row. Dr. Rux teaches trend forecasting to online doctoral students for Jones International University and is an active member of the World Future Society. www.paulrux.net