Small Business Owners Stranded

26055124544_9e61630457_oImagine a mall developed completely around fostering local and small businesses?  Picture modern and local art scattered along the walks ways, halls’ walls, and ceilings.   Picture unique shops of collectibles, imports, flawless crafted home decor, and stores that pushed the limits and expand your imagination?  Imagine a mall where you could taste many of the local run eateries, and that brought in food trucks by the troves every Friday?  Imagine a place that truly celebrated the very spirit of your home, carefully melding the unique flavors into the perfect epitome of inspiration.

Over the past 2 years Artegon Marketplace did just that.  This “anti-mall” was unique and unknown vendors were slowly drawing in more and more customers.   So let’s do the math, if 50% of men and 70% of women of the millennial generation see shopping as a joint venture to share with others, a form of entertainment, and so on a great portion of millennial’s shop primarily in in brick and mortar, 81% to be exact, and they make up at least one-third of shopping traffic.  Considering these facts, and the millennials’ attraction to the retail experience, it would not take long until the millennials of Orlando would make way to a mall that offered a variety of shops that would not be discovered in any everyday Mall.  Shops with Instagram photo ops, shops so unique they would have something unique to Tweet about.

Sadly just as the mall was building it’s stride owner Lightside Group, a real estate company, sold the property giving these small business owners only two weeks notice that they would need to vacate the premises.   These are small businesses that invest large numbers in comparison to their earnings.  These are not businesses like Bath and Bodyworks owned by larger corporations like L Brands that can handle a month or two of displacement; these are small business owners who are investing up to 400 grand from their own pockets to upkeep a staff, inventory, and shop.  Now they are only offered two weeks time to pack up shop, invest in new property and move their inventory?  A commercial move is no cheap ordeal.

Once they are moved into these new locations they will have to calculate time for their new customers to find them again.  Calculate for money lost in the time of displacement.  Calculate deposits for utilities and rent of their new location.  All of these huge costs they were not calculating for.

I’m hoping to see all the vendors pull through this.




References & Photo Credits

The Mall Front: Esmerelda Jade

Chair Photo By Erica Wheelan

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