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Weekly Retail Update: April 2, 2021

Significant job declines, health and safety issues, and government-mandated store closures created a whirlwind year for retail in 2020. In spite of 2020’s obstacles, total advanced retail and food service sales grew by 4% from the prior year, which was supported by government-aid payments to consumers in the form of enhanced unemployment benefits and economic impact payments. This fueled the economy’s momentum going into the new year. January retail sales momentum carried over as sales exceeded expectations. But progress slowed in February as a result of inclement winter weather and unpreceded snow storms as sales were toned down a little. Retail sales declined in February to $561.7 billion, a decrease of 3% from January’s figures and the personal savings rate declined by 630 basis points (bps).

With the approval of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act and distribution of $1,400 economic impact payments beginning in March, February should prove to be a minor glitch as it pertains to retail in the long-run as March is likely to indicate an increase in spending, savings and income. With the arrival of spring and warmer weather, increased daily vaccinations (average 3 million daily, CDC), and easing of pandemic-related restrictions, retail and the economy are positioned for growth in 2021. The combination of consumption representing about 70% of GDP, build-up consumer demand, consumer purchasing power, and getting back to more normal economic activity should be the propulsion system for increased growth rates in the economy and retail sales.

It appears that consumers are yearning to return to traditional norms and spend money in restaurants, stores, bars, sporting events, etc. as quarterly e-commerce sales continued to decline each quarter after Q2 2020. Nevertheless, considering the pandemic’s impact on consumers’ travel arrangements, limiting dinning out, and entertainment and sporting event retail experiences, as consumers resume those activities, when safe, retail and food service annual growth rates and retail and food service sales have the possibility to reach new heights as consumers certainly hold a commanding position in propelling the economy forward in 2021.

Line graph: Advanced Retail and Food Service Sales Growth Percent Change Year-Over-Year, 1993 to 2020

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Applications Now Open for PeerStreet’s Evolving Neighborhood Uplift Fund

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PeerStreet, an investment platform that drives wealth creation through real estate, has announced that applications for their E.N.U.F. Mentorship program is now open. The E.N.U.F. project was launched in February 2021 and is now accepting qualified applicants to apply for seed capital and mentorship through the program.

E.N.U.F. is a program designed for real estate entrepreneurs from underserved backgrounds who are committed to improving their communities and closing the wealth gap using the power of real estate. Ideal applicants have the talent, drive and commitment to invest in real estate but face barriers to mentorship and capital. The program created by PeerStreet includes a fund component carried out in partnership with the Tides Foundation, a philanthropic partner and nonprofit accelerator dedicated to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice.

Entrepreneurs who have identified a property may apply to E.N.U.F for seed capital in the form of an equity investment and will receive mentorship and training from industry experts that are passionate about helping others create wealth. Founding mentors include Ashley Flucas, GP of Flucas Ventures; Cheta Ozougwu, Investor at Tidal Loans; Ndukwe Kalu, Managing Member and Head of Operations at Tidal Loans; Jason Lewis, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Aryming Capital LP; and others.

Ten entrepreneurs will be selected as the first cohort for this program and applications opened on April 1, 2021 and will be accepted on a rolling basis. For entrepreneurs selected to move forward in the application process, interviews will take place in June and July, and accepted applicants will be announced in August.

“We’ve all heard the proverb ‘give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Instead of fishing, we’re focused on real estate,” said Brew Johnson, CEO of PeerStreet. “We want new entrepreneurs to learn the entire investment lifecycle: find deals, analyze numbers, pick comps, secure financing, work with contractors, etc. Our hope is that they can take on real estate projects and replicate success, ultimately building a cycle of wealth creation for small businesses, job creation, and property ownership in the communities they live and work in.”

“The best corporate social programs create lasting change, and the PeerStreet E.N.U.F. program is structured to do that,” said Edward Wang, Director of Corporate Social Impact, at the Tides Foundation. “By ensuring that program participants receive the skills and guidance they need to independently achieve success is so much more valuable than just providing funding alone. We’re excited to see graduates of this program be representative of a diverse group of entrepreneurs making a difference in America’s housing market.”

Real estate entrepreneurs who are interested in applying for the Mentorship program can visit for more information. For any questions, please reach out to us at

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Young Alfred Unlocks Home Insurance for CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Members.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Young Alfred, the most advanced home insurance shopping platform on the market, is excited to announce it has partnered with the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) and is now available through REALTOR® Secure Transaction. Young Alfred can quickly and easily shop and compare quotes from over 40+ carriers to find the best insurance coverage that meets C.A.R. members’ clients’ specific needs and budget. Young Alfred provides comprehensive bindable quotes for clients to purchase coverage the same day to ensure home buyers close on time. Young Alfred also ensures that C.A.R. members are front and center when it is time for their clients to renew their home insurance each year.

“We specialize in finding clients the best-priced insurance to meet their needs and budget. Our goal at Young Alfred is to help clients remain stress-free and close on time by doing the home insurance shopping for them,” says David Stasie, Co-founder and Co-CEO at Young Alfred. “We turn a 5-hour process into an easy 15-minute application.”

“Moving and finding homeowners insurance can be stressful and time consuming. We want to provide an insurance solution that helps save C.A.R. members’ clients’ time and money,” says Jared Martin, Chair of REBS, LLC, a subsidiary of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. C.A.R. members simply activate a Young Alfred account to invite their clients to shop and compare insurance for their new home. Clients can request a Young Alfred quote on the partner site: or C.A.R. members can invite their clients to secure home insurance through C.A.R.’s REALTOR® Secure Transaction.

About Young Alfred

Young Alfred is the most advanced home insurance shopping platform on the market. The company uses data to match consumers to the best coverage options and allows them to buy without having to pick up the phone. Young Alfred has direct partnerships with over 40+ insurance carriers and is licensed in 50 states. Young Alfred has offices in NY, PA, and AZ. Learn more about Young Alfred:

About California Association of REALTORS®: Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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What $2.4 Million Buys You in California

A petite version of the traditional San Francisco Victorian, this house was built in the early 1900s and has been updated, although the sellers, who bought it in 2015, have retained some original details.

The property is in the Laurel Heights neighborhood, near the shops and restaurants of California Street. It is within a mile of the Presidio of San Francisco, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and an ideal spot for taking in some of the city’s best-known views.

Size: 1,973 square feet

Price per square foot: $1,204

Indoors: A white picket fence separates the front yard from the sidewalk, and a stoop with wooden railings leads to a bright blue door that opens into a long hallway with original crown moldings and refinished hardwood floors (like the rest of the main level).

To the left is the primary bedroom, which has street-facing windows, built-in closets and an en suite bathroom with a marble vanity and seashell-patterned wallpaper.

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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Shopping for Kitchen Range Hoods

Every range hood vacuums up steam, smoke and odors from the kitchen. But when it comes to style, designs vary widely: Some are kitchen-defining statement pieces, while others almost disappear.

“Oftentimes, the inclination is to have some beautiful sculptural element over the cooktop,” said Melissa Baker, who founded the New York-based architecture firm Pulltab with Jon Handley. “But we usually try to hide them instead.”

One of the firm’s favorite approaches is to install a slide-out hood that is mostly concealed in a cabinet above the range, with a retractable shield that extends while you’re cooking. But for homeowners who prefer the look of a professional chef’s kitchen, Pulltab sometimes specifies big stainless-steel models that look as if they were pulled out of a restaurant.

Regardless of your preference, the most important part of owning a range hood is remembering to use it.

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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Help! My Apartment Building Is a Movie Set

Q: Tenants at my New Paltz, N.Y., rental building were recently informed by our landlord that a production crew would be filming scenes for a major motion-picture on the property for four days later this month. No one asked us, yet we are being asked for our “understanding” and “cooperation,” which includes moving our vehicles from assigned parking spaces. During the busiest day, 70 people will be on site from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., a violation of the local noise ordinance. Inconvenience aside, it sounds like a potential health hazard during the pandemic. Is this legal? What can be done?

A: You are not going to be able to stop your landlord from renting out the common areas of the building for a movie shoot — a standard lease doesn’t give you that power. You could try to get a rent abatement from your landlord for the days that you are inconvenienced, but you might have more success taking your concerns directly to the production team.

The film crew needs your buy-in to get the work done. Not only could you call the New Paltz police dispatcher and report a noise violation, you could also refuse to move your car.

“The bottom line is happy neighbors are going to result in a happy shoot,” said Nick Carr, a location manager. If the producers “don’t reach out to anyone, then your film crew is going to have to be shutting down because the neighbor decides it’s time for his trumpet lesson.”

Andrea Reisfeld, a location agent. “Nobody wants the industry shut down and nobody wants their freelance work taken away from them. And they don’t want to get sick.”

So, be a squeaky wheel. You’re entitled to know what’s happening and have your concerns taken seriously.

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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Kenneth C. Kelly, Champion of Desegregation in California, Dies at 94

Kenneth C. Kelly just wanted to buy a house near his office. An electrical engineer, he had moved to Los Angeles from New York in 1953; four years later, with a growing family, he dreamed of having a home in one of the city’s fast-growing suburbs.

He had zeroed in on Gardena, not far from his job as an engineer at the Hughes Aircraft Co. in Culver City. But he couldn’t get a real estate agent to return his calls, and he knew why: He was Black.

“They would play games, say nothing was available, blah blah blah,” he said in a 2009 interview.

Jokingly, Mr. Kelly asked a white friend if he would buy a house for him; he’ll pay him back, Mr. Kelly said. To his surprise the friend said yes, and a few weeks later the white residents in the neighborhood were shocked to see Mr. Kelly and his family moving in.

“The neighbors were up in arms,” he said. “But it was my house.”

At work, Mr. Kelly was a respected scientist, designing antennas to communicate with satellites and spacecraft; in Gardena, he was often treated as a blight. Someone wrote an anonymous note begging him to leave, claiming that he and his family were dragging down home values in the neighborhood.

Harriet Glickman, a white, socially conscious colleague on the fair housing council. She had reached out to Charles M. Schulz, the creator of “Peanuts,” to ask if he would consider adding a Black character. Mr. Schulz had politely demurred, saying it might seem patronizing.

Undeterred, Ms. Glickman thought that Mr. Kelly might have more luck if he made the same appeal to Mr. Schulz. In a letter to him, Mr. Kelly argued for a Black character who would be just one of the gang, a “supernumerary” whose skin color would be incidental.

“An accusation of being patronizing,” he wrote, “would be a small price to pay for the positive results that would accrue!”

His words won Mr. Schulz over, and Franklin Armstrong debuted in “Peanuts” on July 31, 1968, as a friend of Charlie Brown who just happened to be Black.

Kenneth Constantine Kelly was born on March 6, 1928, in Manhattan and raised on the Lower East Side, where he was one of only a few Black children among a sea of recent European immigrants. He later said that he could count 10 languages being spoken in his elementary school class.

His parents, Herbert and Ethlyn (Davis) Kelly, were immigrants themselves, having arrived from Jamaica a few years earlier. Mr. Kelly’s father worked for a railroad and was killed when Kenneth was 18 months old.

His mother was a domestic worker and seamstress who lived with families for stretches of time, and his brother and sister worked odd jobs, leaving Kenneth home alone. Bored, he began to tinker with electrical devices and built a battery when he was 8.

When he told his teachers that he wanted to be an engineer, most of them said that as a Black student he was aiming too high. But one teacher encouraged him to apply to the highly selective Brooklyn Technical High School.

Mr. Kelly graduated from Brooklyn Tech in 1946 and applied to be a radio and radar technician in the Navy. He was denied. Though the military was beginning to desegregate, many in the Navy still thought of Black men as stewards and cooks.

Undaunted, he wrote a letter making his case, and within weeks he was learning the latest innovations in naval communications technology.

He later returned to New York to attend Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, today the engineering school of New York University. He graduated in 1953, the same year he married Gloria White. They took their honeymoon to South Carolina; on the way back, a truck jackknifed in front of them, hitting their car and killing her instantly.

Eager to ease his grief, Mr. Kelly applied to jobs in Southern California’s booming aerospace industry. More than one company rejected him, saying he would never find a place to live that was close enough.

But Hughes, which was heavily involved in radar and missile guidance research, was eager to hire him; in fact, when a few white engineers said they wouldn’t work with a Black man, they were told to resign. The company even paid for him to get a master’s degree at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Mr. Kelly rose quickly at Hughes, becoming a section head in 1958. Four years later he went to the Rantec Corp., a NASA subcontractor, where he helped design massive ground-based radio stations that were used to communicate with orbiting spacecraft, including the Apollo missions, and with satellites — the basis of modern satellite radio and television.

His second marriage, to Loretta Kelly, ended in divorce. He met his third wife, Anne, a fair housing advocate in Michigan, during a meeting sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They married in 1988.

Mr. Kelly finished his career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., retiring in 2002. His last research involved designing equipment that enabled Mars rovers to communicate with the earth, some of which is still in use today.

“I meet so many people who are so pessimistic,” he said in 2009. “I always thought I could.”

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How to choose a Residential Garage Door Service Company!

Having a well-maintained garage door is important for any house. Not only does a garage door add to a home’s visual appeal, but it also protects the homeowner’s safety. So, whether you are deciding to upgrade to a new garage door or just wanting to do preventive maintenance to keep your garage door operating smoothly, you should look at the following tips to help you choose the best garage door repair and installation company.

Determine Your Needs

Determining your garage door needs will help you find the right garage door company that best fits your project. It is common for companies to offer general services like garage door installation, repair, and maintenance. However, some companies offer additional services like providing custom garage doors and emergency garage door service. You should determine what needs to be done with your garage before you start calling around to different garage door companies.

Research More About the Company

Use Google and any other search engine to find a garage door company that services your area. Chances are, your search will generate a long list of garage door repair companies. You can narrow down your list by asking your family, friends, or co-workers for recommendations. Once you have a list of potential companies, do your homework and double-check the information you gathered about the different companies. There is additional information about companies that you can check with the help of the Internet and other resources.

Look at Their Experience

Garage doors are complex with a complicated system of motor and gears. Technical jobs like overhead garage door repair require extensive knowledge and training to do it right. With that being said, it’s wise to hire a garage door repair company with many years of experience under its belt. You can also check out a company’s ratings with Google Reviews and other websites. You will be more confident to work with a garage door company with good reviews and accreditation.

Request a Quote

Like with any other service, a project quote will give you a better picture of what the repair will cost. Go ahead and ask for multiple quotes from different garage door service companies so you can compare the prices with each other. While it is important to consider your budget, the quality of the work from a garage door company will determine the overall value. 

Considering all these tips will help you make the right decision in selecting a garage door service provider. After you have done your research and contacted different garage door companies for estimates, you can now select the company you have chosen and schedule your project. 

Do you know what to look for when you’re checking out the condition of your garage door? If you are experiencing any problems or issues, Titan Garage Doors services the greater Omaha, Nebraska area 24/7. They offer emergency garage door repair services for residential and commercial garage doors, as well as new garage door installation and maintenance services. Their highly-skilled team of technicians can fix any garage door problem that may arise. Contact them for a free evaluation of your garage door.


Tom Krutilek – Writer Bio

Tom Krutilek is a marketing executive with Kardo Creative in Los Angeles, CA.  With over 25 years of marketing experience, Tom has written about and reviewed an extensive range of industry topics, including marketing strategy, digital marketing, consumer marketing, and retail marketing.  His insights into a variety of industries and applicable marketing tactics provide his readers with good insight into the challenges and opportunities most companies face in promoting their products and services. 


Instant Reaction: Jobs, April 2, 2021

“Construction jobs boomed in March with 110,000 new additions, one of the largest monthly gains ever. This raises the prospect for more home building and more inventory reaching the market in the upcoming months. The housing market has been hot with fast rising home prices but has been constrained by a lack of supply. By hiring more workers and building more homes, home prices will move to a manageable level to give more Americans a shot at ownership.

from construction, the rest of the economy is also showing strong hiring trends. Nearly a million net new jobs were added overall. Commercial real estate practitioners should be heartened by 22,500 more retail trade jobs, now only 2.5% below the pre-pandemic levels. Financial activities and professional business service sectors added 82,000 jobs – jobs that in the past required office spaces. A big boost also came in the education sector with 64,400 job additions as more schools were opened, leading to previously laid-off cafeteria, janitorial, and school-bus workers getting paid.

The economy is solidly improving. We still need 8 million more jobs to get back to the pre-pandemic conditions, however. Rising vaccination numbers also mean more jobs ahead. The number of homeowners in the mortgage forbearance program will continue to fall. Housing demand looks to remain solid, and commercial real estate demand will steadily recover.”

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