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Essential Journal

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Issue 56 – Brick & Mortar

A note from the Editor

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
– Maya Angelou

There’s something to be said for the brick and mortar space that prints its pride and passion on every pane of glass and piece of furniture. Not literally, you understand. I’m talking about more of a metaphorical, heart-on-sleeve kind of printing; a personal mark left by real people with real dreams and real passions and very, very real skin in the game.

The clothing stores that understand that their value extends beyond the fiscal returns of their rails. The coffee shop that gauges its success by both the quality of its produce and the awe of its patrons. The bar that knows its menu isn’t just a roll call of drunken distractions but an adventure in and of itself. These are the spots worth more than the immediate profits of
their stock and trade. They are, by turns, pillars of the local community and an antidote to the brutal cold of the big box corporation. They should be celebrated.

And yet, we grow more and more accustomed to the gradual McDonaldization of the retail and hospitality experience. We become numb to the machine-like smiles of the overworked, the underpaid and the uninspired. We keep pace with the breakneck speed and ruthless efficiency of conveyor belt consumerism. We unknowingly forfeit the warmth of the in-store experience for the cold, hard click of the ‘buy now’ button.

It’s a shame, too. Because nothing quite stacks up to the experience of stepping into a space that has been tailor made to blow you away. From the immediate, in-your-face details like the fixtures and fit outs, to the more subtle scents and sounds designed to work their magic in the background. You really can’t beat a spot that has been designed with you in mind.

So, to those who invite us into their spaces to share some portion of the dream with us, to those that know their worth in an industry hell bent on a race to the bottom, to the proponents and proprietors of the humble brick and mortar store, this one’s for you.


Will Halbert