Tonight I did something I haven’t done in quite a while; I cruised one of our local malls. I know that malls are really struggling in most American cities and at least three of them here in the Greater Orlando area have gone belly up or are just barely clinging to life. The Orlando Fashion Square Mall was a fave of mine. Our family watched it go up in the ’60s. So sad that the mall’s owners declared bankruptcy a short while ago…
I did notice a few months ago that The Altamonte Mall is doing pretty well and is very busy on weekends. That was good to see. Altamonte Springs is a cool town about 20 minutes north of Orlando, for those of you who aren’t too familiar with Central Florida.
So tonight I thought I’d check out the Florida Mall as I was in that part of town. And it was absolutely thronged. It just blew UP! Of course, it is a Saturday night.
That was a good thing to see.
Not only was business good, but the mall is undergoing a major renovation. I’ll have to check back in a year or so and see how that went.
In the meantime, it’s good to see that some of our malls here in Central Florida are doing just fine.
A quick attempt to fill in a bit of the history of malls around here: The Florida Mall, like the newer Millenia Mall, is very, very close to the heart of our tourist stuff in O’do. I doubt there’s a better location anywhere in the country. No, that’s not an overstatement.
So I suppose it’s not too smart to draw any conclusions about national trends. I don’t see things improving much for investors who’re heavily into a typical mall, but here we’re not doing too badly.
The photo is of the entrance to the Spencer’s Gifts at our thriving Florida Mall. Glad they’re still around, too. I don’t spend money in places like Spencer’s these days, but it’s good that they haven’t gone away.
“Bulldog Ben” Basile in Orlando
Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile