WindowGain is the quintessential company for a soft economy: it turns vacant storefronts into high-definition advertisements. Using patent-pending technology, the Newton, MA-based company boasts that it transforms underused or empty windows into a “new and untapped canvas” for advertisers.

There’s a potentially large canvas to cover. The International Council of Shopping Centers says the 28 retail chains it tracks closed 2,122 stores in the first three months of 2008. For WindowGain, those business failures are possible sources of revenue.

Even in a slow economy, some commercial real estate focused firms are staying busy. Industry experts say the key is developing unique or improved solutions for niche markets, with a focus on increasing revenue. New York City-based On Deck Capital, for instance, developed financial products and technology that’s enabling it to offer “performance-based loans to businesses that may not have access to traditional bank financing” in 45 states.

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