Thursday, November 18, 2021

Walking Bellis Fair Mall with Betty

Picture windows of Food Court, Bellis Fair.

One of my friends, an old drag queen named Betty Desire, (one month older than me) does a mall walk pretty much each weekday at Bellis Fair Mall here in Bellingham.

I wanted to try it, but kept forgetting till today. It was fun and also good conversation. There were 3 of us today, counting me. Only so many hours in a day and I get quite a bit of exercise from many sources so I may not do it real often. Still, it was a good thing to check out.

It's one mile to walk around inside each wing of the mall. Turns out Betty does 5 laps with 1 rest stop. It adds up to 5 miles. A good workout. Easy terrain for walking as it's indoors on level floors.

Mall walks were a thing when Bellis Fair was new in the 1980s. Today, the mall has some empty storefronts as downtown and online shopping are giving it a "run for it's money."

As we walked, we talked about a lot of things; including the possible future of malls. Downtown thrives, partially, because lots of people live there now. Downtown has seen somewhat of a boom in residential construction.

Maybe malls could add residences and other diverse uses. Some malls have closed while others are transitioning.

As we walked, we passed a small high school that's now on the mall. High school kids used to like hanging out at the mall so that can make sense.

We also passed a non profit organization named Maker Space. They teach manufacturing skills and provide use of things like 3D printers. A good fit for having a school nearby.

I often think that malls could get into light manufacturing which can be associated with custom retailing. With 3D printing, some of the supply chain can come back from China.

Walking in the mall can be an interesting, urban experience. Colored lights and people to wave at as they prepare meals in the food court.

Betty said that just as the walk starts to get weary, the music comes on. For me, part of the exercise was bicycling there from my home and it isn't that far away from where I live.

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