One Size Doesn't Fit All

Hispanic men typically have smaller feet than their caucasian counterparts, so Legaspi's malls stock shoes for their target demographic.

Places to Sit, and Sit

"The malls have to have something for five generations of family,” Legaspi says, because they all come together. Sometimes that just means places for the elderly to sit and visit--inviting them to stay for hours while their children shop.

Buy More Clothes

Hispanic households buy 20% more shoes and clothing than non-Hispanic ones, Legaspi says, so the mall’s store mix is geared accordingly. Boots, quinceañera shops, and country-western stores are popular.

Say Cheese

Older generations are made to feel welcome. There are even seating areas where grandmas can relax and chat and grandpas can watch TV.

Show Your Colors

The malls are decorated with bright, welcoming colors to create a sense of festivity and community.

Hot Tamales

Supermarkets cater to Hispanic cuisine, including corn husks for tamales.

See the Whole Hog

It’s a cultural thing, says Legaspi: Hispanic mothers like to see the animal being butchered as a demonstration of quality. And because large Hispanic families often shop as a unit, aisles are extra wide to accommodate strollers and large groups.

See the Whole Hog

It’s a cultural thing, says Legaspi: Hispanic mothers like to see the animal being butchered as a demonstration of quality. And because large Hispanic families often shop as a unit, aisles are extra wide to accommodate strollers and large groups.

Nothing Lost in Translation

Legaspi does not presume that everyone speaks English, so signage is accessible to both Spanish and English speakers.

Nothing Lost in Translation

Legaspi does not presume that everyone speaks English, so signage is accessible to both Spanish and English speakers.

Nothing Lost in Translation

Legaspi does not presume that everyone speaks English, so signage is accessible to both Spanish and English speakers.

Nothing Lost in Translation

Legaspi does not presume that everyone speaks English, so signage is accessible to both Spanish and English speakers.

Shop for Baby Jesus

The mall has it all: Easter, Christmas, the Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe, and other holidays are celebrated here. Bishops and priests lead services, including the Passion of the Christ, and Sunday sales events start after 3 p.m. so as not to conflict with Mass.

The Legaspi Company

For rebuilding malls to meet cultural needs.

Traditional malls in the U.S. are in decline, but advertising exec turned developer José de Jesús Legaspi has revitalized 10 failing properties by converting them into Hispanic cultural centers--leading to a 30% increase in income and foot traffic. "We create one-stop shopping for the entire Hispanic family: grocery stores, dental care, medical care, immunization, clothes, entertainment, banking, and the DMV," he says.

In 2013, the company filled nearly 240,000 square feet of empty retail in an Atlanta mall--attracting Planet Fitness, Ross, Shopper's World, and a slew of local merchants. Hispanic households buy 20% more shoes and clothing than non-Hispanic ones, Legaspi says, so the mall's store mix is geared accordingly. Boots, quinceañera shops, and country-western stores are popular. Easter, Christmas, the Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe, and other holidays are celebrated there. Bishops and priests lead services, including the Passion of the Christ, and Sunday sales events start after 3 p.m. so as not to conflict with Mass.

Because Hispanic families often shop as a unit, Legaspi says, "The malls have to have something for five generations of family." Sometimes that means plenty of places for the elderly to sit and visit--inviting them to stay for hours while their children browse. It also accounts for the extrawide aisles to accommodate these family clusters in popular spots such as the butcher counter, where carving up a whole pig is a demonstration of quality.

[Photos by Thomas Prior]