CT's Strip Mall Exodus

It’s unclear just how many companies have gone out of business in Connecticut in the past year. Too many, to be sure. The number of small businesses that are open is drastically down. Take a look at any strip mall you drive by and you'll notice a fleet of "for lease" signs on now-empty businesses. In low-income neighborhoods, small businesses that are open now compared to last March is down by 37% compared to 34% in middle-class communities.

In downtown New Haven, businesses being able to partially reopen last June helped, but foot traffic has lingered at 65% below its pre-pandemic levels ever since. Several of the businesses didn’t survive, and by the fall, one out of every five storefronts downtown were vacant, according to the city’s deputy economic director. In downtown Bridgeport, one out of every eight ground floor businesses, which are most often retail establishments, were vacant before the pandemic. Now it is one-in-six.

Pictured here is a strip mall in Branford that has always been full. It's a location so in-demand that when one business does leave - which is typically to move to a bigger location - the bids on the soon-to-be-vacant retail spot are aplenty. Life post-pandemic is definitely going to be less brick-and-mortar, with more on-line shopping than ever before.