Downtown Bend retail space nearly full

Vacancy rate lowest in five years

Downtown Bend biz booming

BEND, Ore. - In downtown Bend, more open for business signs hang than vacancies for lease.

"It's showing a level of stability in the marketplace and the restaurant and retail spaces showing that businesses are coming downtown, staying downtown, and ... staying in business," Downtown Bend Business Association executive director Chuck Arnold said Monday.

For seven years, the Downtown Bend Business Association has been tracking business occupancy. Right now, only 4 percent of available space is unoccupied. That's the lowest vacancy rate in five years.

'What that says to me is that the community embraces downtown and wants to be here and celebrates downtown," Arnold said.

Business owners in the area agree.

"There is a store to cater to everyone's needs downtown," Dudley's owner Rebecca Singer said.

Lotus Moon Boutique owner Alicia Provost added, "I love that about it -- you can go into every store and you just find different unique things."

There are over 200 restaurants and retail spaces in downtown Bend.

Even during the recession the downtown group says at least 90 percent of the spaces were full.

"We're always thrilled when another business opens, and we don't like the empty storefronts," Singer said.

Provost was happy to fill one of those empty spaces six months ago.

"I'm hoping to be here for a very long time -- I love this space," Provost said. "I love the reaction that I'm getting from people. It's all been positive."

But with more business signs also comes more friendly competition.

"The trouble is, we have so much competition -- there are nine coffee stores within two blocks," Singer said. "We're the only coffee store with books, so that makes us a little bit different."

Bend's downtown is in no rush to reach 100 percent occupancy. It's goal now is to keep its charm and personality through the businesses that make it.

"For now, we're glad to have a vibrant group of businesses, and going into a really exciting summer," Arnold said.

As you might expect, some shops say a lot of their business comes from tourists. They encourage locals to come explore downtown and always try to shop local.

By clicking Submit users are agreeing to follow the Terms of Service
comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular Stories