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Locally-owned shops share success secrets amid shopping mall demise

RICHMOND, Va. -- While some traditional shopping malls across the country deal with slipping sales and the loss of anchors stores like Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears, the owners of some Carytown shops reported excellent sales so far this Christmas shopping season.

Angela Stiens, who co-owns Sacred Waters Holistic Spa & Boutique in Carytown, said she knew exactly why local mom and pop shops thrive while malls falter and shopping online with Amazon continues to grow.

"It's because of the personal interaction and experience that you get, rather than just clicking on a computer screen and purchasing something online," Stiens said.

While Amazon is an obvious threat to traditional shopping malls, mom and pop (or locally-owned) shops are also experiencing a boom.

Spending growth at mom-and-pop businesses has outpaced that of the big chains in the past two years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"We know that we need to keep our customers engaged," Stiens said. "That is how we continue to get customers to come back to us."

Retail experts predicted to CNN that the change in shopping preferences will cause a quarter of american malls to close within the next five years. Yet many experts see potential in old malls for mixed-use developments.

Developer Michael Markman has plans to replace an old mall outside Philadelphia with a complex of buildings for shopping, entertainment, apartments and a health care facility.

Even with the new mixed use options, Stiens said she hoped shoppers would continue to visit places like Carytown.