ORANGE VILLAGE, Ohio — The 2020 holiday shopping season is picking up as Americans learn more about a potential vaccine that could allow more social interaction in the coming months.
On a brisk but sunny afternoon, Jodi Keiper and her mother Sandie Besett sit outside at Pinecrest in Orange Village not only beating the COVID spread, but also ready to do in-person shopping, bucking the growing online retail trend.
“I mean, this is my preference,” said Keiper. “I like to see things in person, my clothes, instead of just taking a chance on sizes and things.”
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that “the third quarter 2020 e-commerce estimate increased 36.7% (±2.1%) from the third quarter of 2019 while total retail sales increased 7.0% (±0.4%) in the same period.”
Americans are shopping about 7% more than a year ago, but doing it online much more often every year.
“It takes courage to do this,” said Besett. “It takes courage to keep on going and it’s so much more fun than just sitting down at a computer and just piddling around.”
The looming threat of COVID restrictions constantly means that the experience is in limbo, especially as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine urges residents to stay home for the next 21 days to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Ohio’s health order encouraging Ohioans to stay home will apply for the next 21-days. With this order, we are discouraging get-togethers and gatherings to minimize the spread of the virus while minimizing the economic impact of a complete shutdown. https://t.co/lMuWnEV7N6pic.twitter.com/uokvmr3Pyn
With business struggling, Square Mile Capital became the owners in a move that real estate experts call “leaving the keys on the porch.”
“Pinecrest, I think, they made the right decision,” said Dottore Companies’ Mark Dottore. “They saw that there’s not going to be an upswing in retail.”
Part of Dottore’s business is as a court-appointed receiver, stepping in to take over real estate that can’t meet its debt obligations and helping to make it profitable again.
He says “leaving the keys on the porch” is one of the lessons learned during the economic downturn in 2008, when long court battles often followed the realization that a property wouldn’t be able to pay what it owed lenders.
“In 2008, everybody fought,” said Dottore. “Now, people are looking at this and going, ‘It’s just not worth it.”
With coronavirus cases still spiking across the nation, Dottore predicts that Pinecrest isn’t the only property that will face these issues.
“When you start seeing signs of trouble, start trying to renegotiate with your lenders, start trying to renegotiate with your tenants,” said Dottore. “I think we learned that everybody has to work together to get to a somewhat palatable solution.”
“This was definitely a pivotal moment for Pinecrest,” said Fausett.