The Third Space: A New Frontier for Bias-Related Claims in Retail & Hospitality
What Is Third Space?
The term “Third Space” refers to a hybrid space that combines elements of the first two spaces (home and work) to create a third space that is neither home nor work but is a place where people can relax and socialize.
The concept of “Third Space” in retail and hospitality has gained significant traction in recent years as businesses strive to create environments that serve as social hubs, allowing patrons to interact and engage in various activities beyond traditional shopping or dining experiences. These spaces provide a unique blend of community and commerce, fostering both social interaction and economic growth. They can be found in various forms, such as hybrid cafes and bookstores, coworking spaces integrated with restaurants, or retail spaces offering workshops and events.
Third Space is becoming increasingly popular in retail and hospitality. Reasons for this rise in popularity include:
- People are looking for more ways to connect and socialize. In today’s increasingly digital world, people are looking for more ways to connect with each other in person. Third Spaces provide a great opportunity for people to meet up, chat, and build relationships.
- People are looking for more ways to relax and de-stress. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people are looking for more ways to relax and de-stress. Third Spaces provide a calm and inviting environment where people can unwind and escape the stresses of everyday life.
- People are looking for more ways to be creative and productive. Third Spaces provide a great environment for people to be creative and productive. They offer a variety of amenities and activities that can help people to focus and get things done.
- People are looking for more ways to experience new things. Third Spaces offer a variety of unique experiences that people can enjoy. They are a great place to try new things, learn new things, and expand your horizons.
- Overall, Third Spaces are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a variety of benefits that people are looking for. They provide a place to connect, relax, de-stress, be creative, productive, and experience new things.
Examples of Third Space Around the Country and in South Carolina
Notable Third Spaces in the United States can be found in various forms and across different cities. Some examples include:
- The Ace Hotel (various locations): With locations in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Portland, Ace Hotels feature inviting lobbies that serve as social hubs for both guests and locals, offering a mix of coworking spaces, dining, and events.
- Busboys and Poets (Washington, D.C.): Busboys and Poets is a popular gathering spot that combines a bookstore, restaurant, and performance space. It hosts events, such as poetry readings, open mics, and panel discussions, fostering a sense of community and promoting social justice.
- The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles): This iconic bookstore in downtown Los Angeles is known for its labyrinthine design, art installations, and selection of new and used books. It also hosts events and performances, making it a cultural and social hub.
- The Grove at Farmers Market (Los Angeles): This outdoor shopping and dining destination features a mix of high-end and casual retailers, as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes. It also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
- The High Line (New York): This elevated park was built on a former railway line in Manhattan. It offers stunning views of the city, as well as a variety of public art installations. It is a popular spot for both locals and tourists to relax, exercise, and socialize.
- The Public Market (San Francisco): This indoor food hall features a variety of local vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods. It also has a number of restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.
South Carolina has its own Third Spaces for folks to shop, eat, and relax. Those spaces include:
- Charleston Farmers Market (Charleston): This market is held every Saturday morning in Marion Square in downtown Charleston. It features a variety of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods. It is a popular spot for both locals and tourists to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.
- The Mercantile and Mash (Charleston): This food hall in Charleston features a variety of local vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods. It also has a number of restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.
- Soda City (Columbia): This is a weekly farmers market in Columbia, which features over 150 vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, prepared foods, arts, crafts, and more. Soda City is also a popular spot for people-watching and socializing. There is always a lively atmosphere, with music playing and people chatting. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, and to meet new people.
Prospect of Bias Claims in Third Space and Strategies for Avoiding the Same
These examples illustrate the diversity and creativity of Third Spaces, each offering unique experiences and environments that foster social interaction and community engagement.
The success of Third Space largely depends on its ability to create an inclusive and diverse atmosphere that welcomes individuals from all walks of life. As these spaces become more popular, it is essential for businesses and other Third Space operators to establish clear guidelines and policies to ensure that all patrons feel comfortable and safe. However, instances of discrimination and bias can still occur, whether intentional or not, leading to feelings of marginalization and exclusion among certain individuals.
Regarding bias claims resulting from wrongful ejection, it is important to note that businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone as long as it is not based on discrimination.
However, if an invitee feels that they were wrongfully ejected due to discrimination, they may file a lawsuit against the Third Space organizer or operator, alleging the same.
Bias claims resulting from wrongful ejection within Third Spaces often stem from misunderstandings or misinterpretations of rules and policies. In some cases, employees or management may act on preconceived notions or stereotypes, leading to unfair treatment of patrons based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics. This can lead to legal disputes and damage the overall reputation of the establishment.
To mitigate potential bias and wrongful ejection claims, businesses and other entities should consider implementing these strategies:
- Create a clear and comprehensive policy on bias and discrimination. The policy should define what constitutes bias and discrimination, and it should outline the procedures for reporting and addressing incidents of bias and discrimination. The policy should also be accessible to all members of the community, and it should be regularly communicated to employees and students.
- Provide training on bias and discrimination to all team members who engage with the public in the Third Space. This training should cover the different types of bias and discrimination, the impact of bias and discrimination, and the importance of creating an inclusive and welcoming environment. The training should be tailored to the specific needs of the community, and it should be delivered in a way that is accessible to all members of the community.
- Establish a process for reporting and investigating incidents of bias and discrimination. The process should be clear and easy to follow, and it should be confidential. The process should also be designed to ensure that incidents of bias and discrimination are investigated promptly and thoroughly.
- Take appropriate action when incidents of bias and discrimination are reported. This may include providing support to the victim of the bias or discrimination, taking disciplinary action against the perpetrator, or making changes to policies or procedures to prevent future incidents.
- Create a culture of inclusion and respect. Businesses and other operators should strive to create spaces that are accessible and accommodating to all individuals, regardless of their background or abilities.
The intersection of “Third Space” in retail and hospitality and bias claims resulting from wrongful ejection presents a complex challenge for businesses and other entities operating in this realm. By prioritizing inclusivity, diversity, and anti-discrimination practices, they can ensure that their spaces remain welcoming and accessible to all. This will not only foster a sense of community and belonging among patrons, but also protect the establishment from potential legal disputes and reputational damage, ultimately contributing to the long-term success and sustainability of the Third Space concept.
Christian Stegmaier is chair of Collins & Lacy’s Retail & Hospitality Practice Group in Columbia, South Carolina. With nearly 25 years in practice, Christian maintains a state and national practice representing the leaders in retail, hospitality, live music and entertainment promotion and presentation, amusement and specialty attractions, and private clubs. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, as well as DRI Retail & Hospitality (past chair), Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys, International Amusement & Leisure Defense Association, and CLM. Christian is also an active appellate advocate, having made over 45 appearances before the South Carolina Supreme Court, South Carolina Court of Appeals, and Fourth Circuit in Richmond. Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-255-0454 (direct) or 803-467-9699 (cell).