Friday, January 02, 2009

Watching Orlando Unravel

I haven't been totally out to lunch with current events during this "economic correction." For example, I've seen stores closing all over Orlando; not mom-and-pop operations but chains and franchises. I've seen wooded land stripped bare and empty buildings built in its place. I've seen indicators small and large that Orlando is unraveling. I'm going to document as much as I can.

These stores are located at a small shopping center at the north-east corner of Good Holmes Road and West Colonial Drive. Judy and I were out running errands today, and we headed to the Quiznos in that shopping center to eat a quick lunch. As we pulled up we noted that the parking lot was empty; when we parked and got out we found the faded note taped to the window thanking everyone but saying that because of the "economic situation" the store was closing. As Judy and I drove back out we noted a lot of the stores were closed, including the former anchor Circuit City.

The Century 21 and Mattress Gallery are direct casualties of the housing market implosion and the frozen credit markets. With no one buying new houses, there's no need for realtors or new mattresses to put in the new houses new rooms.

And finally we come to the big kahuna, Circuit City. The drama surrounding the slow disintegration of Circuit City started in 2007 when Circuit City management fired 3,400 veteran employees and replaced them with lower-paid employees. This led directly to outrage among the well-healed geeks who stopped shopping there and a poor shopping experience for those who kept going back. That truly moronic management decision put the company in a weakened state so that when the current economic hurricane hit, Circuit City went down like a cheap Alabama backwoods trailer park.

These aren't some abstract statistics we're talking about here. These are real companies that are no longer in business because the local neighborhood can no longer afford to shop there. And there are other stores standing empty across the Good Holmes Road in Good Holmes Plaza. And it's like this all over Orlando.

Here's a link to Google Maps and a shot of what this particular Circuit City looked like when it was still in business.

View Larger Map


  1. Your documentation regarding the deconstruction of Orlando is excellent.

    Yet sad.


  2. Update: I was at the Fashion Square mall this weekend. First, I was able to get a $34.00 (retail price) shirt from JCPenney for $1.97 as part of their "Go Green Tag" sale. My wife noticed that a pair of shoes previously marked at $44.95 for before Christmas was marked down to $14.97. They are really issuing some deep discounts to move merchandise. Many stores in the mall are closed or about to close. Notably, Ann Taylor (women's fashion) is gone, as well as Starbucks and some of the ancillary stores on the upper level near JCPenney. A sign also announced that Limited Too (children's clothing) was going to be replaced by another children's clothing store called "Justice."

    While I was in Dillards, one of the clerks was having a discussion with a floor manager about "losing $6000 per month" in sales.

    If the economic situation continues, I expect the Fashion Square mall to suffer the same fate as the old Winter Park mall, or the West Oaks mall.


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