As the Bulletin mentioned this morning, the Huffington Post has a list of the most "Restaurant Crazy" metro areas in the U.S. and Bend comes in third, per capita. (More than New York or San Francisco.)
In some ways, this isn't surprising. We are a tourist town, don't ever think otherwise. I bet we'd get similar results from overnight lodging per capita.
But I've always maintained that we are completely over-retailed in almost all areas of the economy. I think people move here and can't find a commiserate level of living and start their own businesses. Or they come from a metro area that they mistakenly think is similar to Bend and decide we need more of 'that', whatever 'that' is.
Unfortunately, Bend can be misleading. The very opportunity that being a destination tourist area provides, also has its downsides. We're very seasonal. Our base level of support is probably less than most places, our outside level of support is more.
Anyone who wants to open in Bend should have to try to be open the last week of January, for instance. This week has been horrid. I'm going to beat last year this month, but only by a little -- because of the last three days. Bendites come in, and well -- they're broke and they say so.
There's a new book out, "Pound Foolish" by Helaine Olen, and I saw her interviewed on C-span, and she made the case that the reason most bankruptcies occur are 1.) Medical bills...and 2.) Starting a business.
I once tried to talk a woman out of opening a business, and she accused me of "stomping on her dream." Last I saw her, she had declared bankruptcy, but worse, the rest of her life was also in a downward spiral.
I mean, I love owning a business, but I've always been fairly modest in my goals. Hopefully, a living. Control of my fate. A pleasant place to work.
But I'd be leery of recommending it to most people.
Coming Next Week: 5/29/13
1 day ago