This time last year people were spending less, the stock market was still at record lows and people around the country were being laid off. Over the last few months, Ballard businesses say they’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I don’t know if we are in a pocket, where we have been affected differently by the down turn,” Kristie Kisbye, owner of Annie’s Art and Frame on Market St. says, “but we are up two digits from this time last year.”
Some businesses got through the past few years with very careful planning. “A few years ago we went back to the basics,” Legh Burns, owner of re-soul said, “going by the numbers is what got us through it.” Re-soul had one of the best Decembers ever, a feat that many other local business are happy to share as well.
Down Ballard Ave, new shops are opening up or getting ready to move in. One that is new to Ballard is Dish-It-Up. With their cooking classes and cabinetry options, owner Andrea Reith is very excited to be in the neighborhood. “It’s about the time where people are looking to remodel.”
Most of the business owners thank local residents for their sales. “We are doing really well. The support of Ballard and the eastside is very appreciated,” Jimmy Hasson, owner of Canto Barcelona says. Canto Barcelona, a Spanish clothing store, is up 20 percent from last year.
Bionda, an employee at Camelion Design, says that they had an especially good December as well and she has noticed that people are shopping more locally.
With more money in the area, less closing signs are seen on Ballard Way. Damsalfly will be moving into the old Bark Natural Pet store, and a few other stores are being prepared for new owners.
“It feels like it is picking up, emotionally it feels more positive,” Richard Hiner, a local architect says. A few larger projects got his small firm through the past year. Although business is picking up, it won’t be until they have twice as many projects that he will feel like the economy has actually turned around.
Despite the positive numbers, many believe that the economy has a long way to go before it will fully be recovered. Very few businesses are hiring, and most are still having winter closeout sales, but for now the overall feel amongst local business owners seems to be very positive. (Disclosure: Dish it up! is a sponsor of MyBallard.)