A couple of anecdotal indicators.
I've been getting much larger stacks of 1.00's and 5.00's when I make my deposits. Which I always interpret as, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
I've been getting lots of cold calls. I'm never sure if I'm actually getting more cold calls, or I'm just noticing them more because it's slow.
Tammy Sawyer: "How dare you say that about me! I challenge you to a duel! uhh....can I borrow some bullets? No? Well, then, the DUEL IS OFF!!!"
Someone was commenting that they thought KOHD seemed a little formal and didn't have a local 'feel'. Which, from the few times I watched, I'd have to agree.
People forget that KTVZ started off in a very similar fashion; no feel for Bend at all. I suspect every bit of the 'talent' came from somewhere else. I was home from college when the new station was profiled on The Today Show.
Now anyone who has lived in Bend for any length of time could come up with a dozen iconic images that would represent the area.
The pictures they showed on The Today Show were so generic and bland, it made me wonder who took them and if they had bothered to ask any locals where to get some nice views. If I remember right, they didn't even have the Cascade skyline. I may be wrong about the particulars, but I just remember it being .....off.
Speaking of locals. One of the things I noticed about some of the builders who came to Bend in the mid-00's, was that they were tone deaf. They promoted the big city way. I used to think to myself, "That approach won't work."
But it did -- for awhile. Because so many of the people they were selling to were of the same mindset.
If nothing else, I'm hoping this slowdown will bring back some of the more 'down to earth' aura that Bend used to have...
I've heard rumors of at least four more stores possibly coming downtown Bend. Which is astounding. Not sure what to make of that.
I don't think it necessarily reflects strong sales on the part of existing businesses...
Early on, I thought that there was a possibility that the 'froth' of openings in downtown would bridge the slowdown, and I think that is exactly what is happening. The Old Mill seems to be benefiting from it's location, as well.
Meanwhile, the vacancy rate for south 3rd St. is something like 26% -- but a local real estate company tried to downplay that in the Bulletin by saying that the empty Gottshalks location was inflating the total. That doesn't feel right -- I can't believe that Gottshalks would move the needle more than a few percentage points.
Boardings at Redmond were down from January, and even more interesting, down from last February.
I think, overall, that February was a slow month in Bend, even slower than usual. At Pegasus Books, we beat last year by about 8% (more on that tomorrow) but there was a very, very slow ten day stretch late in the month that canceled out a much bigger increase.
Another local lumber yard closing, with sales last year at less than 10% of the peak; with the realization that things aren't going to get better anytime soon.
I think for existing businesses, especially in the construction trades, it is probably really sinking in that things aren't going to turn around anytime soon.
One of the fascinating things about watching CACB scramble to survive, is that I suspect that even if they managed to get through the next year of so, that commercial real estate is lurking down the road. They'd better hope that whatever financing they manage to scrape up will be sufficient to withstand an even bigger challenge....
A little experiment. Sometimes I start a blog earlier and then finish and post and the date comes in wrong and it's posted on BendBlogs at the earlier date and it looks like I didn't make a post on the current day and we can't have that so I've reposted with the right date and a slightly different title to see if it pops up on the right day and I know you probably don't care about any of this and sorry to waste your time but I've posted everyday for over 3 years and I don't want to stop now...