Sunday, August 11, 2013

painfully climbing out of the great recession


Gutting and replacing the interior

I first wrote about this former Albertsons in January 2009. By the time I photographed it it'd been closed for six months, since September 2008. Sometime during early summer 2013 a construction crew showed up to begin a transformation into a new Publix. In my January 2009 post I'd documented that Publix had purchased a number of the Albertons stores. I had no idea it would take Publix this long to put this particular purchase to use.

By the time this store opens later this year it will have been five years since it closed, which is a rather long time for such prime property to have been idle. Marketplace is in the Dr Phillips/Bay Hills area, with Windermere and Isleworth (think Tiger Woods) right close by, so this isn't a particularly depressed area. It shows just how deep and broad this Great Recession has been.

It will also be interesting to see how many new jobs this store provides. Groceries are labor-intensive, requiring humans for stocking, cash registers/checkout, bagging, customer support, and specialty positions such as the butcher, deli, and pharmacy. It's going to be a mix of minimum wage/part time and full time professional. During the five year span that this store has been closed, that's a group of local jobs that have gone unfulfilled, leaving a small but no less significant gap in the area's job creation capabilities.

This means that the economics of the area have improved. Maybe. Probably. You can't run a store without traffic, meaning a steady flow of customers. But this store won't be without competition.

Marketplace has another specialty grocer just a few stores down, a much smaller store called Chamberlins Natural Foods. The Publix that put this original Albertsons on the economic ropes is just down the street where Dr Phillips dead ends into West Sand Lake Road. Drive less than a mile east to West Sand Lake and Turkey Lake, and there's a Whole Foods, one of two in the Orlando area. Turn left down Turkey Lake and less than a quarter mile is a super Walmart with a grocery in there as well.

That's a fair amount of square footage devoted to selling groceries.

It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Albertsons 1 Marketplace
From January 2009

Technical

The two upper photos were taken with the GX1 and 20mm. The lower photo from 2009 was taken with the Olympus E-3 and Zuiko Digital 12-60mm zoom.

Color wise it's impossible to draw a conclusion. My tools and techniques have certainly changed since January 2009; I'd purchased the E-3 in December of 2008 and was just beginning to learn how to handle RAW. I didn't even own Lightroom at the time, instead using Olympus Master to do all my post. But if I had to choose between the two, I'd choose the E-3 and the 12-60 over the GX1. I might even choose the E-3/12-60mm over the E-M5 and your choice of µ4:3rds lens.

If money were no object I'd pay to have someone custom-build me a regular FourThirds camera using an E-5 body and the sensor out of the E-M5. And then I'd pick up a nice collection of SHG and HG zoom lenses.

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