What? Café Panini Gone?
Great food, friendly service, nice décor, wonderful location on a downtown corner; how is it even possible that Café Panini couldn’t make it?
And----if that were not enough, Café Panini served upscale Italian cuisine and Italian food is served no place else in Enumclaw. Don’t think that I’m prejudice because my last name is Locatelli, since I watched lots of happy and satisfied faces pass by our flower shop on the way out of Café Panini.
I was going to wait until April when the last two quarters of economic data will be available from the State of Washington to present my report, but with Café Panini going under the right time is now.
The chart shows the quarterly taxable retail sales for the city of Enumclaw divided by the number of reporting stores. The peak in retail sales came in the summer of 2006. There was a small recession in progress as the housing prices peaked in 2006. The big drop came when the banking system collapsed in 2008. The fourth quarter of 2009 (which includes Christmas sales in December) was the bottom of the steep drop.
Retail sales have been slightly falling since then. I’ve been talking to suppliers that travel around the state and this Christmas season was not really any better if not worse than in the past. This was our experience for our flower shop also.
The drop in retail sales from the peak in 2006 to 2009 is about 50%. This means shop owners income dropped on the average by almost half! By half! And----this severe drop in income has lasted for almost three years. It’s a wonder Café Panini has lasted this long.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS. There is every reason to believe that we have hit the bottom and this year retail sales will improve. The details for my optimism are in the positive economic indicators emerging every day (the recovery in the Midwest, the rising consumer confidence, General Motors back at the top of car manufactures, etc.)
So---now is the time to plan for how we will bring tourists and local shoppers into Enumclaw. After all, why should people go to the other tourist destinations when they can come here for a great and unique shopping experience.