Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Downtown comings and goings, updated.

Blue Moon leaves a 4200 sq. ft. spot. Doesn't bode well for trying to rent the bottom floor of the new building on the corner. Plenty was immediately replaced by a clothing 'reseller.' And I don't think I'd really noticed until now that a new restaurant is going to open at the base of the Oxford Hotel, plus other retail?

We may have less than 10% vacancy rate, but for the first time I'm having tourists comment on how slow downtown looks and feels....



Bella Moda 4/25/09
High Desert Gallery (Bend) 4/25/09
900 Wall
Great Outdoor Store
Luxe Home Interiors
Powell's Candy
Dudley's Used Books and Coffee
Game Domain
Subway Sandwiches
Bend Burger Company
Showcase Hats
Pita Pit
Happy Nails


Blue Moon Marketplace 4/25/09
Plenty 4/25/09
Downtown Doggie 4/25/09
Santee Alley
Bistro Corlise
Made in Hawaii
Stewart Weinmann (leather)
Kebanu Gallery
Pella Doors and Windows
Olive company
Pink Frog
Little Italy
Pomegranate (downtown branch)
Pronghorn Real Estate office.
Speedshop Deli
Paper Place
Bluefish Bistro


PartTimeFaineant said...

What's the remedy? What could any one person, business, organization, entity or community do to markedly change forces far greater than we can fathom?

Look back in downtown history locally or beyond and you'll find that turnover is quite normal. In fact, given the tourism slowdown, it's surprising it's not greater.

I'm taken aback that you've had tourists in your shop. You've always seemed to say that it was the locals that supported you. Tourists be damned. Events that bring tourists be damned. Now they're actually in your store. I wonder when that started.

Duncan McGeary said...


I get lots of tourists. It's one of the reasons I've seen a huge increase in foot traffic over the years. I think I've mentioned many times that the foot traffic level is huge compared to the old days.

I'm carrying books because of this, and board games.

"Events" in my opinion don't add anything, but I haven't made a complaint about those in two years. People got upset when I mentioned them, so I dropped the issue as something I can't do anything about.

I just accept they are part of the deal. Events = tourists in your mind?

Locals -- or more accurately, regulars -- are the base of my business, but tourists are probably the profits.

I've always said, I make money 4 months out of the year, lose money 4 months out of the year, and break even 4 months out of the year.

The tourists are what make the 4 profitable months.

I'm keeping this list, because no one else seems to want to. A record of comings and goings. I'm not being judgmental here, or cheering for it, or anything. But it was hard for me to remember who, what, and when, so I decided to do this.

Just a straight record. Normal turnover? Well, maybe, though it seems to me that there are a few more vacancies than a couple of years ago, and the turnover is a little faster.

But it is also very impressive how quickly the vacancies are filled. Someone always seems willing to take the spaces.

There are a few more "For Lease" signs on my street than I'd like, but hopefully a couple will get filled.

But really, I'm just trying to keep a record. In fact, I'm going to start adding dates to the listings.

Does that threaten you somehow?

Duncan McGeary said...

Really, if you look at the list, it's amazing how they even out, more or less.

I'm just saying that I've had a couple of customers comment on how slow downtown felt, which is true.

I asked them why they thought that, and they mentioned the 'For Lease' signs.

Right now, the two big signs in the Olive store space aren't being helpful, plus the papered up leather goods, plus the empty Volo, Merenda, Bistro, and Deep.

Hopefully, those will show activity by summer.

If you read over my posts, I've maintained for some time that Downtown Bend will weather this better than almost any other place in Bend.

Duncan McGeary said...

Finally, you seem to be under the impression I'm negative about downtown.

I just signed a new lease.

I'm looking forward to the Oxford Hotel opening, and hopefully, more shops along the base.

I've been concerned about the lack of 'funky' businesses, and concerned that there are too many 'high end' business that are the same.

A bit more variety, and few less of the same.

But I think that's going to change through the workings of the marketplace.

I mean, even the most positive booster of downtown has to admit there are a lot of high end restaurants downtown.

If the market will support them, I have no complaints. Same as the high end clothing, galleries and jewelry stores.

I'd wish for a bit more variety, personally, but I'm not wishing ill on these stores who after all bring in the kind of well-heeled customers I want. At the same time, I'm a great believer in diversity: I think downtown would be healthier with a Shoe repair, and trophy shop, an independent bookstore, and a new age store, and....

Lots of stores have left, and what I see coming in are -- clothing stores.

These are just opinions.

Sorry, I have a blog, and I'm hoping that there is some nuance to my blatherings...

Duncan McGeary said...

I was not unhappy to see Dudley's and the Game Domain open in downtown Bend, even though they compete with me.

They make downtown Bend a more interesting place.

Imagine if you will that both places were instead women's clothing stores?

Do you see this differently?

Anonymous said...

Too many on your list of 'new' are NET-ZERO like Zydeco, some might infer that BEND has new biz.

There is no new biz, like Juniper-Ridge everything in Bend is Net-Zero, people shuffle around, some bodys are moved from Bend to JR, or Prineville to JR. From I97 to downtown, but its all net-zero.

Downtown is now being 'competitive' for the first time in years, so folks out in the sticks ( I97 or SE27th ), now grab the downtown.

But its all net-zero in terms of jobs, and income.

Somebody loses his job, and open's a game shop, or somebody else closes a food-joint and opens a retail operation. We're losing the Tetherow, Brasada, Pronghorn 'gallerys' and we're getting flea-mart store-fronts.

I'm still waiting for the downtown HardWare Store to return! When Folks???

part time faineant said...

Hey Dunc,

You have explained yourself well. I retract my hackles.

shopping monkey said...

I think your wish for more "funky" stores is... well, a little quaint. I'd like to see that, too, but truth is, many downtown rents are still high, even if some landlords have reduced them or given temporary concessions. It's still a big nut to cough up every month, and the only way to cover it is to have huge volume and/or great profit margins. Or all that, plus low overhead. Can't see a shoe repair or even a good indie hardware store being able to handle that these days. I just hope it doesn't all end up being being chain stores...