If you are writing about shopping in a community, here are things that should always be covered in your story:
• the character of the shopping destination (is this an artsy, revitalized neighborhood with indie boutique-lined streets? is it a new riverfront development with sleek architecture and full of artists’ studios and retail spaces? Is it a cavernous, 10,000-square-foot antique mall that requires comfy walking shoes?)
• types of shops in the area/shopping destination (are there independent bookstores, galleries, eateries? are there high-end boutiques? are there major department stores? if it is a large outdoor retail development, what are the anchor stores and are there any smaller, local shops interspersed?)
• specific goods or services that can be purchased at the shopping destination (if it’s a large complex, you obviously can’t list an example of a good sold at every store. One method for giving the reader an idea is by providing examples in a “range” format. e.g. “At the new Hill Center, shoppers will find a mix of national retailers sprinkled with a handful of independent boutiques, making it a cinch to find a one-of-a-kind necklace handcrafted by a local artist to complement a funky new outfit from Anthropologie.”)
Important: While you should list specific businesses, be mindful of how long it has been in business and how notable the business is within the context of the community. In most cases, steer clear of highlighting a brand new business. While its opening may seem newsworthy, a) it has not been around long enough to play a defining role in the shopping scene; and b) unfortunately, the success rate of brand new businesses is not always favorable and will require story edits should the business close.
Length: 250-500 words
Include: embedded links, subheads within copy and list at end of copy
Shopping overviews should begin with a couple of introductory sentences describing the overall shopping scene (are there many options? is the community noted for one large shopping area or mall in particular?).
The intro should be followed by several short descriptions, each focusing on a noted shopping area or neighborhood shopping destination, a specific mall or shopping center, and in some cases, a specific store.
At the end, create a listing that includes the names, addresses and links of all stores specifically mentioned.
What Shopping Destinations/Topics Should Be Included?
The areas you highlight will depend on the size of the retail sector within the community you are covering. Here are things you should research and include:
• Any kind of downtown shopping scene
• Any mall(s) or other large retail developments, being sure to list anchor stores
• Any major shopping districts (like Cool Springs is to Nashville)
• Any iconic shopping theme the city is known for (antiques, etc.)
EXAMPLES OF ORGANIZING TOPICS:
1. Place With Many Shopping Options
Nashville, TN Shopping Overview
You’ll find plenty of fashionable Western wear in Music City’s downtown district, but there’s also opportunity for splurging with high-end retailers like Tiffany and Louis Vuitton in the upscale Green Hills area. Quirky boutiques are scattered all throughout the city, too. Here are the highlights of Nashville’s shopping scene.
Copy would focus on tourist district shopping and include mention of:
Ernest Tubb records, Hatch Show Print, The Gulch and Urban Outfitters
Copy should focus on high-end shopping options, including Green Hills Mall and Hill Center, mentioning specific retailers at each, such as Nordstrom, Tiffany, high-end boutiques like H. Audrey, Posh
Copy should focus on “big box” shopping just south of Nashville, including CoolSprings Galleria
Opry Mills (assuming it is to reopen)
Copy should focus on outlet store shopping and mention largest anchor stores, such as Bass Pro Shops
Copy should focus on walkable shopping within a neighborhood, mentioning boutiques and indies like Pangaea and Firefinch
2. Place With Fewer Shopping Options
Elizabeth City, NC Shopping Overview
In Elizabeth City, collectible treasures await at several antique malls while downtown’s unusual shops ensure one-of-a-kind gifts galore. Meanwhile, shoppers will also find major national retailers at Southgate Mall.
Downtown Elizabeth City
Copy should focus on character of downtown and include mention of most notable retailers.
Copy should provide range of retailers and the goods they sell, including Belk and JC Penney (anchor stores), with mention of smaller stores like Eclectic Designs (handcrafted jewelry).
Copy should highlight the top antique shopping destinations in the area, including Coopersmith Antiques & Auction Company, Little River Antiques Mall, etc. If there are several shops, provide a number of how many, determine the largest or most notable in your research and highlight just a couple.