Shoppes of Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove has become the place local stores go to die. One of the very few remaining, Pamper Me Pets recently bit the dust. Now it's just a very small handful, like Shoesters, Goodthings and Hot Mama (a growing chain in its own right) amid all the national chain stores. I remember touring the "lifestyle" center before it opened and hearing the developer promise that the outdoor atmosphere wouldn't be the only factor to differentiate Arbor Lakes from traditional malls. It was to feature a mix of national chains and local boutiques. The reality is, most independent retailers just can't pay the rent next door to a Pottery Barn or Gap. There are occasional signs of hope in that sea of parking lots and strip centers, like the opening of Edelweiss Baby. Then again, it replaces Hey Diddle Diddle, another Maple Grove baby shop that couldn't make it. Are Maple Grove shoppers really so content with the same ol' chains? You get the feeling driving down Elm Creek Blvd. that you could be in any sprawling suburb in America. There's nothing to make all that retail space distinct. Too bad developers don't realize that size isn't all that matters.