I don't think the economy has recovered in Bend.
The more time passes, the more I think people assume that it has stabilized. But a lot of the surplus cash that was floating around when the boom went bust has probably dried up by now.
We've gained very little population in the last few years, though our city government is still acting like we're still growing rapidly. I suppose they think we'll grow rapidly in the future -- but I don't think that is any sure thing. Like, where are the jobs coming from? If it's all retirement folk, how likely are they to vote in favor of infrastructure improvements? (Hey, I'm for long term planning, but I think sometimes you have to wait for a few more confirmations about what the long term is likely to bring.)
I usually don't comment on other people's misfortune, but there are some things about the Blacksmith's bankruptcy that were interesting.
One -- the amount of money that was being invested, even recently, here in Bend -- when, like I said, I don't think the economy is going anywhere. 2.5 million dollars is a whole lot of meals, and I wonder where that money was going to come from? In that debt, was an investment from another restaurateur that I would've thought was sufficient to start a whole new restaurant or two or three.
I'd like to know more, but The Source has blocked comments -- which I think is a questionable move on the part of a public media. Public comment should be at the source of what they do. KTVZ has a few comments.
Anyway, from what little I can glean, it appears to me that all the debts are being piled on the "personal" side of the ledger, in hopes of keeping the restaurants open. I have a feeling that probably won't wash. If I was a debtor, I'd think I was more likely to get pennies on a dollar from a couple of restaurants than from a guy who has a foreclosed house and is driving a 2001 pickup.
Still, if true, I give Gavin credit for putting his entire personal life on the line, unlike some other situations where it seemed the debt accruer walked away with a nest egg.
Like with the Merenda, it isn't that hard to break out a calculator and figure out how many full meals a place has to serve to break even, much less pay off a profit, much less pay off the original investment. I don't know the dynamics of a restaurant, but it seems like overblown is overblown.
I don't think that it's just that I think small. I don't doubt that the Deschutes Brewery has gained enough market share and capacity to expand the way it has, for instance. But when the money figures I read for opening a market in the Northwest Crossing, or The Decoy, or Volo, or this 2.5 million, it always seems kind of excessive. Like I said, I break out the calculator and start figuring how many meals they have to serve, and it always seems like an unreachable number.
At least they leave a beautiful shell for someone else to come along and occupy.
5 days ago