I am angry tonight, for the past 6 months I have searched the greater Portland, Oregon Vancouver, Washington area to relocate my successful pipe shop to as it is growing and in need of more room. Vacancies abound in these two great cities and instead of renting the owners prefer to let them sit empty loosing money. Why? The answer is evasive as this type of retail business has been around for many years and with recent changes in law is growing. Remember the gold rush days of the 1800’s and how prospectors rushed to the gold fields hoping to strike it rich with only few that did however, the mercantile who sold those miners the picks, axes, pans, etc. where the ones that “struck” gold. Well, today the same holds true just the “gold” fields and the products that merchants’ sell has changed but the opportunity to “strike it rich” is very real and to this business owners seem to be blind.
The store is currently in St. Johns, Oregon where it opened four years ago and as of April 1, 2015 the lease will expire; I seek a 1000-1500 square foot floor showroom with up to date heating, air conditioning, a small office, bathroom and a roof that does not leak. Driving about I find many a location empty, some brand new spaces that are just the size I seek but each time an inquiring call or email is made I either get no response or “We don’t want that type of business.” Pressing concern the reply comes back that they seek “family” orientated business like antique shops, novelty stores, retro clothes, and the like. The business I run is just as “family” as any other type in respects to who patronizes the store. Husband and wife come (no one under 18) and purchase artisan glassware for each other or for friends so I am not sure of the thinking here.
I am confused and frustrated, so the search continues and hopefully sometime between now and the end of March a property owner will step up and welcome my shop with open arms and not only see the money potential but also help a locally owned business grow. After all, is the small business the backbone of our country?