The Bulletin has an article about local movers noticing a "drop in business." They come to the conclusion that people are staying put.
Boy, this sure doesn't jibe with what I'm hearing from my customers.
The same way that a few years ago, I'd get the excited comment, "We're moving to Bend!" nowadays I hear a much more subdued, "We're leaving Bend."
So much so, that I've dusted off the "Getting out of Dodge, huh?" phrase.
Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but pretty heavily weighted to outflow.
My guess, people are
1.) Moving themselves.
2.) Waiting for the school year to end.
Nice little Requiem essay in the Source from the owner of Santee Alley.
But really, there are a couple of things in it that I take issue with. I don't want to add to her low (bitter-sweet) spirits, but I have a couple of questions.
The first third of the essay is complaining about parking costs, (7.00 per day) and even talking about avoiding the parking guy.
I'm sorry. Go to the base of the parking garage, Minnesota Ave., find the Diamond Parking office, buy a monthly parking tag for the garage for 45.00. Don't try to dodge the parking tickets, go to work five minutes early, park in the garage and walk the three or four blocks to your store.
At least you make it clear you 'brown bag' your lunches, but the parking thing really threw me.
Secondly, her statement that rent should be around six percent and never more than ten percent had me breaking out my calculator.
I paid 12.5% last year; if I remove the Triple Net part, it came to 10%. But I include my location as advertising, which makes it a bit more affordable. Still, asking for 6% in Bend isn't going to happen for any reasonable location.
We ARE overpriced on Rent, I'll give you that.
Finally, her comment. "...to keep your clients coming in the door you've lowered prices forty, sixty, or higher...."
Well, not if you want to stay in business. This is the equivalent of eating your foot to avoid starving. I've done this in the past (call me PEG-LEG), but I've tried very hard to avoid it this time.
I don't want to add to her misery, but just wanted to point out that equations are not set in stone; I've accommodated the higher rent as part of my overhead -- though is really is the explanation why I'm sole worker right now, and don't advertise but depend on downtown foot-traffic.
She catches the up and down momentum of business well, how a few really good days can revive your spirit, and a few really bad days can throw you back down into the dumps.
It can be very hard to read the future -- 'Summer is coming, I had a good weekend, maybe things will work out.'...sort of feeling. But my rent is already due....
Finally, I have to like that she mentions Libby's Garden that she passes on her way to work, because it was named after my master gardener Mom, Libby McGeary. I'm glad to know that is still noticed.
2 months ago