Friday, January 30, 2015

Letting go of Comings and Goings list.

I've been keeping an accounting of downtown business's Comings and Goings for the last 7 years or so.

Since 2008.  It was a scary time. The economy was crashing.  I didn't know what to expect, and I realized that I could never quite remember when businesses arrived and when they left.

So I started keeping a simple list.  Non-judgmental and objective, without trying to explain why and wherefores -- just a list of who was moving in and who was moving out.

Well, it looks to me like the Great Recession is over.

What's interesting is that the downtown district never did have a very high vacancy rate.  Chuck Arnold from the Downtowners and others were concerned that my list wouldn't reflect well on downtown, but if anything it did the opposite.

The list showed the strength of downtown, not the weakness.  There were always more Comings than Goings.  Downtown showed a real resiliency that was somewhat unexpected.

Keeping what I'd hoped was an objective list only showed the truth, which was that downtown proved to be an attractive place even in the midst of a Great Recession.

There was a lot of turnover, but I'm not sure that the rate of turnover was that much worse than normal.

Normal turnover is probably more extreme than people think.  The list exposed at least that much.  Most small businesses really don't make it.  But that has always been true.

I'm glad I kept the list, if only for my own curiosity.

I've stepped back from the business these days, and I'm really not in touch with what's going on.

I've always been very very careful to list "Goings" only after a great deal of confirmation.  Telling people that a business is leaving if they aren't could be very destructive.

So because of that carefulness, I have to wait, and by the time it comes to pass, I'm on to something else.

There is another round of turnovers downtown, but I'll let you guys figure that out for yourself.

Time to move on, folks.  I hope you found it edifying.

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