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Christmas Tree Shop and Bed Bath & Beyond are gone. So what's taking their places?

Many say they'd like companies that offer experiences to fill empty Bed Bath & Beyond storefronts
Many say they'd like companies that offer experiences to fill empty Bed Bath & Beyond storefronts 02:10

BOSTON -- Holiday shopping has begun, but there won't be anyone walking through a Christmas Tree Shop or Bed Bath & Beyond. The stores have closed, but what is taking their place?

So far, Burlington department stores have moved into 44 Bed Bath & Beyond locations, and two have already opened in Massachusetts. Other locations have been scooped up by Macy's, Michaels, and Barnes & Noble.

Bed Bath & Beyond was purchased by, which moved the company completely online.

"There are A, B, C, and D stores. Most of the stores that get closed end up being D stores, meaning they don't have great traffic or great demographics. Those are a tough sell," said Ken Morris, managing partner at Cambridge Retail Advisors.

Morris believes the stores could be filled by companies that fall into three categories: experiential, pop-up shops, or entrepreneurial. An experiential spot is a place like a pickleball arena or a trampoline park. They are places for activities rather than to shop.

"Axe-throwing or something like that would be kind of fun," suggested local shopper Mike Dinocco, "I don't want a Target or anything like that. I don't want a ton of people."

"Maybe rollerblading, or an indoor roller skating rink," added fellow shopper Alea Hermanson, "More clothing stores, honestly? I feel like that is what everyone has been looking into."

"Maybe a trampoline park or maybe a space for people to do artwork. A community studio space," said Johnna Farnham, another local shopper.

"People like to spend money on an experience. That's going to happen more and more," said Morris, "Retail is theater, and it's always been theater, but I think it is going to go back to that. Retail is experience. You aren't going to get that online. You aren't going to get that in the metaverse."

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has offered $9 million in grant funding to entrepreneurs who are willing to open businesses in vacant store fronts. Morris said this could be a spark plug to filling some of the closed stores.

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