Norwalk roundup: Future of retail, a climate change forum and a tree celebration

The SoNo Collection, as seen April 13 from Oyster Shell Park. The shopping center is expected to open in October.

NORWALK, Conn. —A little roundup for you:

  • Bloomberg: Today’s youth like malls
  • Climate change forum scheduled for Friday in South Norwalk
  • Norwalk named a Tree City U.S.A.



Are malls dead? Not for GenZ

Bloomberg Businessweek has news that may surprise some Norwalkers: GenZ, the population segment made up of  7- to 22-year-olds, prefer brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online.

There’s a contingent of Norwalk citizens who say, “malls are dead,” and The SoNo Collection mall under construction on West Avenue — and expected to open in October — will fail. “Millennials Tried to Kill the American Mall, But Gen Z Might Save It,” the Bloomberg headline states.

“Around 95 percent of {Gen Z} visited a physical shopping center in a three-month period in 2018, as opposed to just 75 percent of millennials and 58 percent of Gen X, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers study. And they genuinely like it; three-quarters of them said going to a brick-and-mortar store was a better experience than online, ICSC found,” Bloomberg reported Thursday.

The study is on target, according to 2018 Brien McMahon High School graduate Darius Williams, who told NancyOnNorwalk that he prefers shopping in a store. So do his friends and siblings. It’s good to try things out, he said, agreeing with Bloomberg’s report on the appeal of modern stores which personalize items with technology.

The September study states:

  • For key product categories, Gen Zers make most of their purchases in physical stores.
  • Just over three-fifths of Gen Z take advantage of omni-channel choices and use all online and in-store options for shopping offered by retailers.
  • Gen Z cites the abilities to socialize, physically see items and get them immediately as their top reasons for going to stores.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z say it is important when buying online for that retailer to have a store nearby.
  • Gen Z’s purchasing power extends beyond their own income as more than half pay for most of their purchases with money from their parents/guardians.
  • For apparel and personal care products, the largest shares of Gen Z make purchases at discount department stores. They are also less likely to shop at other types of retailers than older shoppers.
  • More than four-fifths of Gen Z use mobile devices while shopping in stores.
  • Gen Z uses their mobile devices in stores primarily for emailing/texting friends/family, comparing prices and getting discounts.
  • About eight of 10 Gen Zers say they have purchased items in stores as a direct result of seeing them on social media. Among them, YouTube is the most influential platform.
  • In the three months prior to the survey fielding, between February and April, more than nine of 10 Gen Zers made at least one trip to a shopping mall.
  • Gen Z made an average of 8.6 trips to malls during the threemonth period (February to April).
  • At malls, Gen Zers predominantly shop, eat/drink, socialize with friends and see movies.


GenZ will represent one-fifth of the U.S. labor force by 2025, Orange Silicon Valley reports.

“Though Generation Z has not yet reached its prime spending years, understanding the group’s lifestyles, motivations and preferences is critical for shopping center owner/managers and retailers,” the Industry Insights study states. “While this age segment is similar in some aspects to older consumers, they also demonstrate distinct behaviors— including heightened social engagement—that must be weighed to keep them loyal to physical establishments as they enter adulthood.”



SoNo Library panel to discuss climate change

Climate change and currently proposed laws will be discussed at the Fairfield County Climate Change Forum scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the South Norwalk library, located at 10 Washington St.

Climate Forum DFA 5_3 (2)

“The impetus for the forum is that CCAG {Connecticut Citizen Action Group} is gradually seeking to build a presence in Fairfield County since there are many serious players here but we are geographically far removed from the Capitol,” former Mayor Bill Collins said in a Tuesday email to NancyOnNorwalk. “One of our partners is Natalie Ochoa, the girl who led the global warming walkout at Brien McMahon a while ago.”

The event is sponsored by CCAG and Democracy for America, Ann Pratt said in a press release.

“Fairfield County concerned residents will gather together to hear about state legislative initiatives moving through the Connecticut State Legislature- and to learn about specific actions they can take to advance clean energy, gas pipeline and fracking issues and protect ratepayer-funded efficiency programs,” the release states.

Panelists are:

  • Leticia Colon de Mejias, CEO Energy Efficiencies Solutions
  • Sam Dynowski, Connecticut Director for the Sierra Club
  • John Humphries, Director of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs


Collins said CCAG supporters have “already gone door-to-door on Wall St. trying to line up supporters for legislation to allow small businesses to join the state’s employee health plan.”


Norwalk hits that Tree City goal again

For the fifteenth consecutive year, the City of Norwalk was named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its effective urban forest management. Norwalk also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for the thirteenth consecutive year for demonstrating environmental improvement and a higher level of tree care, according to a statement from Norwalk Communications Manager Joshua Morgan said.

“Trees are real assets to our community. They are an essential part of what makes Norwalk such a livable and beautiful city,” Mayor Harry Rilling is quoted as saying. “We’re very proud of the fact that we plant trees every year and have now been named a Tree City USA community for 15 years.”

The occasion was celebrated with a tree planting at Wolfpit Elementary School, attended by local officials and hundreds of Norwalk students, according to the release.

The release said:

“Norwalk achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

“‘Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,’ said Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation. ‘Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement of public education.’

“Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitat.”


Al Bore May 1, 2019 at 6:20 am

How do we win tree city, did they not see the story in the hour 3 days ago? Norwalk tree canopy coverage dwindles – The Hour
3 days ago – NORWALK — As developments increasingly sprout out of the city’s urban centers, a recent study highlights the absence of a more organic type ..

EnoPride May 1, 2019 at 10:25 am

@Al Bore, I agree. That article provides data which exhibits that we are losing tree canopy coverage at a decent clip with all of this overdevelopment, and at an alarming cost to residents’ health, also studied in the article. We are a Tree City on paper only I guess, because of criteria on committees and $$$ put toward them, not because we are actually breeding more trees, ironically. Upsetting.

Piberman May 1, 2019 at 11:02 am

The Mall’s success depends on wealthy surrounding town residents shopping during daylight areas and not being deterred by our seedy Downtown, heavy City/I-95 traffic nor the City’s crime (See the FBI UCR showing Norwalk has higher violent crime rates than either Stamford or Danbury). A more “capable” City Hall team would have used the Mall to jump start corporate development Downtown. But this is Norwalk where City Hall focuses on apartment buildings, not corporate development w/good jobs. And encourages the multi-year devastation of the Boondoggle Bridge to challenge the Mall’s success. Should the naysayers be correct about the Mall there will be no doubt about Norwalk’s future – Bridgeport west. A City Hall committed to the Mall’s success would vigorously oppose the Boondoggle Bridge construction t hat will paralyze Downtown for years.

AL May 1, 2019 at 11:04 am

Are malls dead?
Ask the folks in upstate NY. Destiny Mall, one of the nations largest is probably going to default on $430M obligations.
SoNo will do the same…just wait. It is just a matter of time.
For a closer example, the death of the Stamford Mall is continuing.

Audrey Cozzarin May 6, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Norwalk has the “distinction” right now of having the least tree canopy (39%) of any city in Southwestern Connecticut. We do not deserve to call ourselves a “Tree City.” Too many roads, parking lots, and buildings, at the expense of Mother Nature.

I read the article about the Climate Forum on Friday at Sono Library (which I was sorry to miss). Unless we, as a society, make some big changes to our lifestyles and the way we are using up the Earth’s resources, we don’t stand much of a chance against the changes our planet is facing.

And, the mall going up in Norwalk right now is, from what I’ve heard, the ONLY mall under construction right now in the United States of America. And, may it be the last! Is this really what we need, yet another a palace to more consumerism and waste? I was hoping that vast expanse would be turned over to meadow and woodlands. I know I’m not the only dreamer out there. That “info” about young generations being into malls, I just don’t buy it. I think there is a lot of “info” in this article that is spun. My eyes, ears, and brain tell me otherwise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>