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Essay: Out of the Box

Big Box stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and huge grocery stores are part of America’s dream of big, fast, and cheap. But as stores close or relocate, they leave behind their empty shells, draining shopping centers and leaving cavernous spaces with little hope of becoming stores again. They become their towns’ problems to solve.

And many do. Communities in North Carolina are finding ways to turn around their Big Box predicament and reuse the empty spaces, rethinking the American dream.