I’m flying home from Miami, the third city I have looked at in about a month. By coincidence, my travels have taken me from depressed, to more depressed to most depressed. You might say my trip has been depressing.

The reason for my journey is to open more Artist & Craftsman Supply stores. I started in Los Angeles and even though the city is on the verge of bankruptcy and Los Angeles says it’s depressed, I didn’t see it, especially after visiting Chicago and Miami.

Chicago’s decline is focused in the loop and downtown and that is where a lot of art students buy & use supplies. Downtown Chicago has already lost a major art supply & to my eye another is in trouble. An easy walk from the Symphony & the Art Institute are dozens of “For Lease” signs.

Miami’s problem is a result of their building bubble. Whereas Chicago is an old city renovated & Los Angeles is appears to have balance of old & new, Miami appears all new, heavily leveraged & vacant.

The Florida broker I was working with told me that recently, the commercial realtors¬ had started doing financial background checks of both potential landlords and tenants, especially if the building was a condo. First time he had seen that in his 35 year professional career, i.e. checking the financial health of landlords.

Well, I am almost back down to Portland Maine & Maine is always depressed. And that’s not depressing at all.
- Larry Adlerstein