Lewis Retail Centers continues to believe in the necessity of brick-and-mortar retail, but the investor also knows that changes are coming to the market. The future of physical retail hinges on bridging the gap between e-commerce and retail, which includes partnering with e-commerce providers and employing digital marketing tools.

"We focus strongly on bridging the gap between physical retail and e-commerce. We no longer believe, 'Build it and they will come.' We've implemented a robust digital marketing plan for the majority of our shopping centers that in years past may not have warranted such a program," Randall W. Lewis, EVP of marketing for Lewis Retail Centers, tells GlobeSt.com. "Each of our shopping centers now has digital assets in place that make it easier for the community to find, engage and shop with our tenants."

While the firm is adapting to the new world, it also recognizes that retail will continue to be an experienced-based asset, and experience will continue to play a role following the pandemic. 'We recognize that the retail experience is something customers can't get online, so it is especially important now—as we navigate through e-commerce and the pandemic—to keep our centers attractive and inviting places for the community to gather," says Lewis. "This was the philosophy behind our recent renovation of Regency Park Plaza in Vacaville, California. By upgrading the lighting, repainting the exterior, and adding elements to give it a more modern look, we were able to refresh the public's experience in this center and keep it current."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.