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Strip mall

Example of a small strip mall in upstate New York
Westgreen Shopping Plaza Meadowgreen, Confederation SDA Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

A strip mall (also called a shopping plaza, shopping center, or mini-mall) is an open-area shopping center where the stores are arranged in a row, with a sidewalk in front. Strip malls are typically developed as a unit and have large parking lots in front. They face major traffic arterials and tend to be self-contained with few pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods.


Mall types

In the U.S. and Canada, strip malls usually range in size from 5,000 square feet (460 m2) to over 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2). The smaller variety is more common and often located at the intersection of major streets in residential areas; it caters to a small residential area. This type of strip mall is found in nearly every city or town in the U.S. and Canada; it is service-oriented and may contain a grocery store, video rental store, dry cleaner, small restaurant, and similar stores. In the past, pharmacies were often located next to the grocery stores, but are now often contained within the grocery store. One third of supermarkets currently have pharmacies.[1] Gas stations, banks, and other businesses also may have their own free-standing buildings in the parking lot of the strip center. A recent trend is for grocery stores to have bank branches and gourmet coffee houses inside the store.

The other variety of strip mall in the U.S. is usually anchored on one end by a big box retailer, such as Wal-Mart, Kohl's or Target, and by a large supermarket on the other. They are usually referred to as power centers in the real estate development industry because they attract and cater to residents of an expanded population area. The categories of retailers may vary widely, from electronics stores to bookstores to home improvement stores. There are typically only a few of this type of strip malls in a city, compared to the smaller types. Retailers vary from center to center, ranging from three or four large retailers to a dozen or more.

Some strip malls are hybrids of these types.

Architectural styles

Strip malls vary widely in architecture. Older strip malls tend to have plain architecture with the stores arranged in a straight row, though L-shaped configurations are not uncommon. Newer strip malls are often built with elaborate architecture to blend in with the neighborhood and to attract the upscale consumer. In some cases, strip malls are broken up into smaller buildings to establish a more appropriate sense of scale and to create architectural articulation. A current trend with the purpose of screening the parking lot from the street and nearby residences is locating the buildings with little to no setback from the street. Some stores may allow for entrances from both the street sidewalk and the parking lot.

See also

  • Retail park, a UK term for a grouping of retail stores, usually the equivalent of a power center.


  1. ^ "Competition bears down as food struggles to gain share" Drug Store News, May 2, 2005.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • strip mall — ➔ mall * * * strip mall UK US noun [C] (US COMMERCE ► a row of stores and small businesses built together along the side of a main road: »suburban strip malls …   Financial and business terms

  • strip mall — n AmE a row of shops built together, with a large area for parking cars in front of it …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • strip mall — strip ,mall noun count AMERICAN a row of stores contained in one long building with its own parking lot …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • strip mall — strip′ mall n. cvb a retail complex consisting of stores or restaurants in adjacent spaces in one long building, typically having a narrow parking area directly in front of the stores • Etymology: 1990–95 …   From formal English to slang

  • strip mall — ☆ strip mall n. a kind of shopping center along a street or road consisting of a series of adjoining shops in a building or buildings typically with a uniform front design and direct access to each shop from a common parking area in front …   English World dictionary

  • strip mall — noun a mercantile establishment consisting of a row of various stores and business and restaurants along a road or busy street; usually opening on a parking lot • Hypernyms: ↑mercantile establishment, ↑retail store, ↑sales outlet, ↑outlet * * *… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Strip Mall — Infobox television show name = Strip Mall caption = Julie Brown as Tammi Tyler format = Sitcom runtime = 22 minutes creator(s) = Julie Brown Charlie Coffey starring = Julie Brown Victoria Jackson Jim O Heir Bob Koherr Amy Hill Loretta Fox Tim… …   Wikipedia

  • strip mall — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms strip mall : singular strip mall plural strip malls American a row of shops contained in one long building with its own car park …   English dictionary

  • strip mall — a row of stores with a small parking lot in front    Does the Langdale strip mall have a video store? …   English idioms

  • strip mall — shopping mall consisting of stores or restaurants located side by side in one long building (usually with a parking area located directly in front of the stores) …   English contemporary dictionary

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