Amazon local businesses are still strong

With Lane County’s unemployment rate being at 12.6 percent, locally owned businesses in the Amazon Neighborhood are still on their feet.
Local businesses in the Amazon Neighborhood such as Evolution Gaming, Sundance Wine Cellars, and Black Sun Books have been surviving in the decrease of the economy in the past year.
Fred Mortenson, owner of a (board) game store called Evolution Gaming, says that the economy has positively affected the store because unlike going to a movie in theaters, games can be played and used over and over again.
Mortenson also says that these games are giving customers a more inexpensive form of entertainment, and provide alternatives to going out to restaurants or movies, and instead having a game night.
Peter Ogura, owner of bookstore Black Sun Books, says that he has seen a decrease in sales, but he does not carry many mainstream prints that can be found in larger chains. Since he is a specialty bookstore, he feels safer as a local business. Other than the economy, Ogura says that he feels there has been an overall drop in how much people actually read, perhaps because of the Internet and other technologies.
Sundance Wine Cellars general manager, Boris Wiedenfeld, says that the media is scaring off people who still have a job, and those people are making unnecessary precautions about spending money when they do not have to. For example, Wiedenfeld says that usual customers who will buy a $20 bottle of wine are buying $4 bottles when they can still afford it.
Wiedenfeld says, “If you don’t want to spend your money on the things you like, they won’t be there for you to buy any longer.”
Independently owned local businesses are still doing well in this area, says Wiedenfeld. “I know 80 percent of the people that come in here. I know their names.” The customers range from locals from Eugene areas all the way to tourists from out of state. “Most Eugene customers are even from the South Eugene area [Amazon Neighborhood].” Sundance Wine Cellars has the largest and most diverse collection of wine in all of Oregon, says Wiedenfeld.
Other wine cellars have not been as successful with keeping business open, but that is because they do not have the prime location on a busy street, and do not have the wide variety of wines as Sundance does, says Wiedenfeld. Ever since Sundance moved their location to a prominent street like Hiliyard Street in Eugene, sales have increased 100%, says Wiedenfeld.
Mortenson says that his shop is a good place for people to come and play games as well as just buying them. He also says that there are two game clubs, which is more than they had two years ago. This provides an outlet for people to play games, and also saves money by being able to play other people’s games rather than buying their own, says Mortenson.
Wiedenfeld says that Eugene lost four to five good restaurants last year. Othere than the specific Amazon Neighborhood, Eugene and Oregon in general appear to still be struggling with the economy, says Wiedenfeld.

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