It's the fastest growing sport in the country! If you haven't already heard.

According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association over the last 3 years the number of pickleball players has increased by 159%.

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No town is too big or too small to have pickleball courts! You can find them at your local YMCA, senior center, or hometown park. Heck, there are even rooftop pickleball courts and breweries with pickleball courts in Grand Rapids!

However, when it comes to playing pickleball what is difficult is finding an open court! Could this be the answer we've been looking for?

Photo by Lesli Whitecotton on Unsplash
Photo by Lesli Whitecotton on Unsplash

According to CNN real estate developers are turning to pickleball to fill empty stores in their malls to,

...[replace] shuttered Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, and Saks Off 5th stores. It may seem like a strange strategy, but the match offers benefits to both mall owners and pickleball players.

Many big box retailers announced closings and layoffs throughout 2023 including Bed Bath & Beyond, Rite Aid, T.J. Maxx, and more recently The Body Shop and Macy's. Could this be the saving grace malls and shopping centers need to stay afloat?

As someone who knows they're in the minority and doesn't even play pickleball, I'll say I am all for turning these empty retail spaces into pickleball courts. It's better than letting them sit there empty! Adds CNN,

Consumers are craving fun, social experiences after years of limited gatherings during the pandemic, and they have shifted their spending from goods to experiences like theaters, arcades and amusement parks.

Think about it: it doesn't just have to be pickleball courts either. Any business could fill those vacant spaces! Which new experience would you like to come to your local shopping center?

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