Bill Roark

It will come as no surprise that the world of retail is changing dramatically. Not since the move of shopping centers to suburbia from downtown, have we seen this level of change. Downtown Monroe and West Monroe at one time was the place to be on Saturdays.

The Ladies Shop, the eight-story Palace, Walgreens, Krauss and Cahn, Pinton’s Firestone, the theatres — just to name a few — was where you met neighbors, friends and even relatives. In the 1950s and 1960s we began to see a movement away from downtown and into suburban areas with the development of the Twin City Mall and other shopping centers.

This was followed by the Pecanland Mall in our area and multiple malls and large power centers with national large box retailers such as Sears, Penny’s, Montgomery Ward, etc.

We learned to shop in air-conditioned comfort with often over a million square feet of retail stores offering every item and product we could imagine, including a food court that catered to our every taste. mur average stay at a shopping Mall was over three hours. We shopped until we dropped on weekends, nights, on our days off, on vacation and after work. That is what made investors spend multiple millions of dollars to develop these mammoth retail facilities.

Downtown was gone, Mom & Pop stores were gone and small stores disappeared as we flocked to the malls and power retail centers.

Now comes the next evolution in the retail world. We no longer want to spend three hours at the mall or drive 30 minutes to get there or shop only when the stores are open. Welcome ONLINE SHOPPING. We want to shop late at night in our pajamas or nightgown. We don’t want to get dressed or put on make-up or drive 30 minutes to shop. We want to shop when we want to shop anytime day or night, 24/7.

Next week I will look at the consequences of our decisions and what to expect next!


The property at 1 Natchitoches St, West Monroe in front of the River Place Condominiums has been sold for $360,000. The .94 acres sold for $8.79 psf.

HATCH-MOTT-MCDONALD, an engineering firm 101 Crosley, West Monroe is relocating their offices to Thomas Road (Basic Drive)

Bill Roark is a Commercial Associate Broker at Tri State Properties and may be contacted by email to

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.