History

Shopping centers are the modern versions of the ancient market places the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans had. At that time in was a “plaza” a central urban area where merchants gathered and sold their products to the people of that city.

For Romans, commerce constituted a civic virtue and expanding commerce was seen as a way of expanding knowledge and human progress. Nowadays, commerce and shopping in particular are glamorized social activities that entertain people in all sorts of ways.

The United States is known to have designed and developed the first shopping center in 1922, in Kansas City, Missouri. Known as the “Country Club Plaza”, it was founded by J C Nichols Company. Until the mid 50s the concept of enclosed large shopping malls was not fully developed. The first enclosed mall was built in Edina, Minnesota and was called Southdale.

The need for larger shopping spaces with multiple stores together, all accessible by car occurred when most Americans moved form the crowded cities to the large open space suburbs. To match this social trend, stores were brought together in an enclosed area where people would find all kinds of products. It would be accessible by car and contain a food section as well, to provide food for the hungry customers shopping all day.

The concept quickly spread and shopping centers all across the US developed. As international commerce developed, the concept of a shopping center was exported and now there is even a race for what country has the largest shopping area or largest shopping mall in the world. Now stores in the mall range from luxury boutiques to worldwide retailers making products available to people anywhere in the world, regardless of what shopping center they are in.

The 21st century marks the beginning of the internet mall shopping where various sites act as virtual shopping centers. Customers can shop around by browsing through their endless pages and endless products. All you need is your credit card, your computer and your comfy couch!