Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Game of Stores.

As I mentioned, about 40% of the stores and restaurants in downtown Bend have turned over in the last 3 years.

I don't know if this is more --or less -- than usual. (Which is one of the reasons I started keeping the Comings and Goings list. Eventually, I'll be able to see a pattern.)

I've never trusted the old cliche statistic that half of all businesses fail in the first two years -- I've always figured that was overstated by a long shot. (Now half -- or more -- in FIVE years, that I would believe.) I've always had the theory that anyone opening a business, especially in an expensive downtown, it going to hang on for At Least 2 years if at all possible. An average lease, I'm guessing, is 3 to 5 years, so that is when the big decision needs to be made.

By my reckoning, all the really fancy new restaurants, where a huge amount of money was spent to set up, have been replaced by now. The replacements getting a fancy new spot for a fraction the price -- Leaving a Beautiful Corpse, I call it.

I think the "failing upward" nature of downtown continues, as well. Many of the replacement stores are fancier than the ones before, and the old spaces get renovated because they become available and they become available because an older business left.

Unfortunately, the low vacancy rate keeps the rents relatively high. Housing prices have dropped like 55% around this town, but downtown rents have declined maybe 10 or 20%, and with cost of living increases, much of that has been raised back up again.

So the Game of Stores will continue, because people see a 'thriving' downtown, and probably overestimate the business and the ability to pay the rents.

1 comment:

jared said...

"A double-dip recession is coming" - A Game of Stores