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The Economy, Version 2012

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Some of the on-line orders needed to be returned to K-Mart. We drove over to the K-Mart near Florida Mall (Sandlake and OBT). We parked near the entrance to K-Mart, where this small beat-up sign is located. This is the same shopping center where the old Circuit Center was once located. The sign bears silent witness to three businesses, two of which were once as widespread as the lone Radio Shack store.

The sign shows three small businesses; Payless Shoes, Radio Shack, and HFC/Household Finance Corporation. I have no idea when HFC closed down operations (the small empty shop on the left of Radio Shack) but the weathering is pretty extensive now, indicating some four to five years ago. The closing of Playless is more recent.

This isn't to say that the whole area is dying. The K-Mart is still in business, and across the parking lot is an Olive Garden that's been in business as long as we've been living in Orlando, since 1985. And then there's Florida Mall itself across the street. But the smaller businesses are showing far more stress than the bigger businesses (with the odd exception of chains such as Circuit City). And those small empty businesses are all around.
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At the intersection of Palm Parkway and South Apopka Vineland Road stands this slowly rotting multistory structure. I have no idea what it was before it went out of business. It's windows are broken and boarded over, and there's some primitive unfinished construction at what ostensibly is the main entrance. Over the boarded up main entrance is this lone building violation notice from Orange County. It's an incredible eyesore, sitting next door to a well-kept Holiday Inn Express, and just a block away from the main entrance to Downtown Disney. This reminds me of the bleaching pile of cinderblock I discovered this past Easter on the other side of I-4, near where they're building the new bridge over I-4, linking International Drive and Palm Parkway just a mile further up the road.

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