Friday, November 16, 2007

I was talking to an employee of another bookstore here in Bend, and was commenting on how amazing it was that we had one indy bookstore for 7 years, and suddenly Bend and Redmond have jumped to five indy bookstores.

He said something about how people see a store open, and they jump off the cliff like lemmings....

I had a different take on it. I told him I believed that these stores are incubated at the same time, without knowledge of each other.

So it's just a coincidence?

Not really. Whatever conditions inspired one person to start thinking about opening a store is the same conditions inspiring another. It's an unfortunate and messy consequence of capitalism. No higher authority who says, O.K. we have room for another bookstore, but only one. You there, you open a store.

Sometimes, the very fact that there isn't competition will suddenly invite an overdose of competition.

Very messy.

Creative destruction on a grand scale.

But somehow the economy muddles through, with carcasses littering the roadway. But out of the decay something else arises.

Downtown Bend has gotten so busy, that I don't think even the housing bubble -- which is really going to hit Bend hard -- will slow it down. It is very hard for me to imagine that Downtown Bend can absorb 10 new restaurants without consequence, especially during a slowdown. I'm going to be very curious how this plays out during the months of January through June, especially if Bachelor doesn't get much snow. But I can bet that every new owner is convinced that their restaurant will be the exception.

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