Warrenton's big-box plans put pressure on Astoria's businesses

| Print |  Email
Archives - July 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
JB121008astoria-2453Astoria's downtown businesses feel the big-box impact.
PHOTO BY JUSTINE BAILIE
Warrenton and Astoria are joined at the hip, whether they like it or not. As fishing and logging faded, the towns turned to different development paths. Warrenton courts big-box stores, while Astoria fosters small businesses and Portlandesque boutiques. Two new commercial developments in Warrenton have created uncertainty about what new companies and big-box stores will move in and what effect they’ll have on small businesses in the region.

Driving north through the area illustrates the town’s differences perfectly: As the highway passes through Warrenton, familiar labels like Home Depot and Ross beckon. Once it passes over the Youngs Bay Bridge and into Astoria, it twists into a traditional main street lined with stores like Danish Maid Bakery and Thiel’s Music Center.

Though the recession has slowed corporate interest in expanding into the region, the North Coast Business Park and a commercial development by the Nygaard Logging Co. are still moving forward. Developers are discussing with companies, but besides an expansion plan by Costco, no one has yet committed and rumors circulate over who will be the next big-box store to move in.

“In a perfect world we’d be relying on home-grown businesses where the money circulates and stays locally,” says Paul Benoit, Astoria city manager. “Especially given the recession, I would not support bringing more box stores in — it would hurt the region more than help it and put a dent in the bottom line of businesses that are already vulnerable.”

“We’ve definitely been affected by Home Depot,” says Randy Stemper, owner of Astoria Builders Supply. “By nature, big-box stores don’t contribute a lot to the community.”

The Coast is no perfect world, and further development is the future of working-class Warrenton, even if Warrenton City Manager Robert Maxfield is ambivalent about the impact of box stores on small businesses and the unemployment rate.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some businesses that carry things people look for,” says Maxfield. “We’re not going to drive to Portland or Longview to enjoy the businesses folks in those areas take for granted. I think it’s a positive thing; however, it needs to be managed in an effective way. That’s life — businesses have to change and grow. I’m not saying if that’s good or bad.”

One certainty is that local businesses will need to find new ways to survive in an unpredictable climate of competition.
JENNY FURNISS
 

More Articles

Raising the Stakes

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

The 2014 Bend Venture Conference set a record for the most cash, investments and prizes awarded at an angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. Investments in the six winning companies exceeded $1 million. The 11th annual conference was hosted by Economic Development of Central Oregon.


Read more...

Everything old is new again: How the EEOC is reinventing itself

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.


Read more...

4 married couples who work together

The Latest
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IMG 0020BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

They say maintaining a healthy marriage takes work. So does running a business with your spouse.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

Chronicling Gov. Kitzhaber's march to resignation

The Latest
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
021115-kitzhaber-jekaplan14-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Recapping a wild week featuring plenty of will he or won't he resign drama.


Read more...

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS