Some weathered economic storm better than others
It wasn’t just a tough holiday season for many Enumclaw business owners, it’s been a challenging year.
Similar to the national picture, a down economy, bad weather and the Boeing strike are taking their toll on local business.
“It’s been a challenging year,” said Enumclaw Sears owner Tom George. “Were not immune to it here in little old Enumclaw.”
In many cases, businesses reported a double-digit dip in percentage of sales from last year.
“Things were definitely slower this year,” Over The Edge clothing store owner Brynna Bjornson said. She reported sales were down by a large percent compared to previous years with weather definitely impacting December numbers.
All the snow that arrived before Christmas even hurt businesses that generally thrive on the white stuff.
Lisa Shimoi of Monkey Rides said the late-arriving snow and then having so much of it clogging streets hurt, as did the numerous slide closures of state Route 410 to Crystal Mountain, which kept skiers off the slopes.
“We felt the crunch, but it wasn’t disastrous for us,” said Colleen Cavanaugh, who co-owns Enumclaw’s This-N-That with Connie Cline.
Her comments were echoed by several store owners Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cathy Rigg said.
“They did as well as can be expected,” she said. “Many said they didn’t meet projections, but it wasn’t as bad as it could be.”
To aid shop owners, Rigg said the Feb. 19 Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting will feature Green River Community College business teacher Jeff Perlot talking about, “How to Survive and Thrive in Today’s Economy.”
Survival is the key word for shopkeepers.
“Our December was pretty close for the last three years,” Cavanaugh said. “The local folks are very loyal. We’re very blessed to be in this town.”
“Shop local” is the mantra of Plateau business owners now more than ever.
“If people don’t shop here we’ll go away,” George said.
“We’re no differently priced here than nationally,” he said of his Sears store. “And do competitive pricing with anybody.”
The economic forecast wasn’t all doom and gloom.
Rigg said an earlier move to a Cole Street storefront paid dividends for The Salt Shaker, which reported better sales, and the Arts Alive! Gallery had one of its best days in history.
“It was almost as much as last year,” said Arts Alive! Gallery manager Elaine Lynest, who thought the Mount Rainier Independent Business Alliance Treasure Hunt around Thanksgiving helped bring people to their door. “In this climate, that was good. I was amazed and astounded. Most of our customers are not local. This time there were more locally. Our artists all pay to be in here. We don’t charge a commission. Sales are still going well.”