The nationwide decline of big box stores is hitting the Black Hills one business at a time

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – The decline of big box stores around the nation is hitting the Black Hills one business at a time.

“This has been kind of a nationwide slow-moving trend that’s been accelerated through the COVID pandemic, but what we’ve seen is there’s more people using the internet, they’re shopping online,” says Kyle Treloar from dream Design International.

Also, Treloar says people are not going to the big box stores as frequently as they once were. As Rapid City continues to grow, some businesses change location potentially leaving more empty storefronts.

“We’ve got a lot of new building, a lot of new growth, but we’ve got an excess of existing buildings out there and we’re seeing retail start declining so that’s when you have to find new ideas to fill these spaces,” says John Roberts from the Real Estate Group.

One example of a creative solution is at the former k-mart, now called Dakota Market Square. That strip mall has been split into smaller businesses creating more options for the surrounding neighborhood.

“How do you repurpose all this space? So much of it has been built in great locations on busy intersections just where you would expect the traffic to be and so what can we do with those spaces and it’s a mixture we’re seeing of offices and alternative use,” says Treloar. “We see businesses that can serve a neighborhood.”

Roberts says even though there are a lot of vacant properties across the city, he is seeing many people looking for spaces that fit their needs.

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