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Retail Therapy

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Written by Akeem Brown, WHPA, National Client Relationship Coordinator, Wellness Works Canada

Basic Retail Amenities are no longer luxuries, they are expected necessities. People account for relative distance to basic commodities like coffee, groceries, and banking. This commonly shared understanding is the reason why neighborhood retail strip malls are among the lowest vacancy rates in the Real Estate world. The retail shop is modern day equivalent of the watering hole, where we can congregate. It is important then, to be strategic about how we align our organizations to optimize this natural human need to drop in.

How close is your organization to the nearest café, farmer's market or restaurant? Like green and blue spaces, you do not likely control the placement of retail establishments. You do however choose your proximity to these retail spaces. The closer, the better for a variety of reasons.

Why Retail Access Matters

Proximity to retail can be a key factor in attracting talent to your organization. This is especially true for Millennials and Gen Z people who identify strongly with the shops they patronize. Your organizations relative distance can then prove to be an effective recruitment tool.

Retail access also can be a great opportunity for networking. If you regular the same places everyday out of convenience you can build relationships with other regulars, staff and eventually maybe a new friend. Not much is to be expected outside the confines of the retail shop of which you both happen to use. Sometimes though, these acquaintances could open doors that may be of benefit, of which you could do the same if it made sense. If your schedule is packed and regimented, that brief time spent at a place like the nearby café can be a rare chance to break the monotony.


Retail therapy is not always about shopping till you drop, it’s about engaging your community. Café’s, farmer's markets, restaurants and stores give us outlets from our daily grind and opportunities for new relationships. If these places are too far away from home or work, the excess time spent traversing to them will eventually cut into productive working hours. These places give people a release and a predictable, dependable experience they can look forward to, despite what may have happened at home or work.

Practical Tips:

  • Encourage employees to get out and support local business during breaks (taking proper precautions during COVID-19 or only when it is safe to do so)

  • Share new establishments or hidden gems with people you know

  • If possible, lease space that is attached to or within walking distance (1km) of retail establishments

About the Author

Akeem is a proud Canadian who grew up understanding the paradox of health: the harder you work on your health, the harder you can work on everything else.

He played basketball and football growing up and remain active to this day. He has a close group of friends while always looking to make new connections.

As he grew he understood how powerful sports and recreation was in his life so he decided to study it at the University of Alberta. He is now months away from receiving his bachelors. He is also a certified Workplace Health and Performance Ambassador (WHPA).

His interests include real estate, film making and art. He believes that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas and enjoys having conversations that have the potential to challenge his beliefs.



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