While it’s too early to say how successful Black Friday in Orlando truly was, every parking lot I drove past in Seminole County and parts of Orange County were full. That’s a good thing for Orlando.
The truth is that I’ve never been a fan of Black Friday. I’ve been happy to see it recede back into Friday instead of ruining an important Thanksgiving holiday for families to be together. Discount fever has ruined a couple of dinners in my time.
But it’s also the truth that Orlando’s retail economy needs it to be successful because we refuse to stop building retail businesses.
This is like examining today’s economy and choosing to invest in typewriters.
Online business continues to grow each year, consumers want the product delivered to their doorsteps as quickly as possible. Even food delivery is surging.
This means we don’t really need to keep building shopping centers every chance we get.
First off, the infrastructure is already there. How many shopping malls are struggling while we keep standing up more lots?
Second, do we really need to keep putting that many cars on the road in such concentrated areas? An article published today illustrated that many of the most congested roads in Orlando (story HERE) were the streets near overpacked shopping areas.
Third, these are more low paying jobs that are doing nothing for the area’s affordable housing crisis.
Yet we keep building. We’re even plugging more retail into our unaffordable housing projects. At this point, we’re literally stacking our problems on top of one another.
Our retail industry is existing off a diet of chewing gum. It takes up space but it’s hardly healthy.
The solution is to reinvigorate our existing commercial areas. Let’s use the space we’ve already got allocated instead of just destroying more green space in Orlando.
There are obstacles to this plan. This means no money for developers. No money for developers mean more campaign contributions going towards the politicians that will do what they want. The group we have in office right now are doing exactly what they want.
Black Friday was successful today. That’s good, but we’ll need to evolve with multiple solutions for commerce if we’re to prosper moving forward.