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Linguistic strategy at Trader Joe’s: the recipe to a beloved chain’s success.

Saying “I like Trader Joe’s” isn’t very edgy; it’s not going to instigate a revolution anywhere.  They aren’t exactly fighting words.  Ranking right up there with California phenomenon In-N-Out Burger as one of the least controversial chains that dole out food, a person is far more likely to provoke fisticuffs for saying “Trader Joe’s is

Bigger Washingtons (Part II): the remaining cities that honor George.

Continuing from where Part I left off, this article will explore the remaining 15 municipalities named Washington in the United States, the District of Columbia excluded.  Ranking them from least to most populous, the previous article covered the smallest eight; this will conclude with the seven bigger Washingtons, up to the most populous of all.

Hollywood Gateway: a pocket park with a preconceived plan. Will people partake?

Far be it from me to turn into a crotchety old killjoy who lambastes every pocket park I find, but I already did it once a few years ago, for a tidy but neglected little mini-playground in Alexandria, Virginia.  Since a bigger, higher-profile, and splashier (literally) play area stands just a few blocks away, my

Dueling dollar stores in a small town: why would identical companies share a party wall?

During the season of giving, it’s not likely that most people’s first notion of a repository for seasonal gifts is a dollar store.  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, you name it. I suppose I’m making an elitist generalization here: after all, many people lack the wherewithal for purchase gifts anywhere other than a dollar store.  Furthermore,

Hopscotching: supermarkets locate and re-locate. Why can’t gyms?

My latest article is on Urban Indy. It represents a sort of sequel to an article I wrote about 18 months earlier, where I followed a single Kroger supermarket on the south side of Indianapolis as it kept changing locations–four separate places in about twenty years, all new construction. And none of those locations were

Pizzeria conversion: with one city’s Italian loss is another’s gain.

It’s a busy time of year and I need to meet my monthly blogging goals, so I’m going to cheat a little bit and piggyback on my previous article.  To be frank, it’s a double-cheat, since I usually try to avoid featuring the same state for two blog articles in a row.  But here I

Fort Worth Convention Center: does it fit in its location? Best just to look at the footprint.

On the south end of Fort Worth’s tidy, finely-wrought latticework of a downtown, the mammoth Fort Worth Convention Center Building helps ensure a steady array of visitors whenever a major event is in town.  Why shouldn’t it?  That’s precisely what convention centers do.  This convention center seems to benefit from a slightly greater-than-average effort to

Castle on a cul-de-sac: homes like this will always exist. But that doesn’t mean they’ll survive.

It’s rare that I feature two back-to-back articles on the same subject, and even rarer that the subject includes massive, opulent houses.  But these houses—each one a castle, or what we would contemporaneously (and pejoratively) call “McMansions”—are the backdrop for what ultimately is an entirely different focal point.  Over on Geist Reservoir, in the northeastern

Towamencin Shopping Village: a strip mall, all dressed up for a date, but not a single suitor. (MONTAGE)

I’ve featured more derelict malls and shopping centers than the average reader can shake a selfie stick at.  (An apt reference, since the oldest chroniclers of struggling retail—the sites and—haven’t received updates since the popularization of the selfie stick.  But they were great sites when I first started blogging!)  As far as depressed

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