The commercial court might be considered an early version of the strip mall because it contained more than one commercial establishment, usually food markets. This type typically had an L or U plan, creating a court-like parking area. The building itself was very simple and utilitarian, consisting of open storefronts, usually with a canopy running the length of the storefront, and side and rear walls with no fenestration.
Commercial courts were little more than open-air markets. Some provided curbside service so that motorists would not have to leave their automobiles. They might also have had a smaller stand-alone building, such as a filling station or other retail establishment, in the corner of the parking lot. More common earlier in the 20th century, most of these have been demolished or later altered with glass and partial-wall storefronts.