Jefferson Westside Stays Strong in Tough Economic Times
By Chris Deppa
The current state of the economy is affecting everyone, and small business owners and Jefferson Westside residents are feeling the heat just like everyone else.
Bill Cole, the owner of Wheel Works on West 11th Avenue and Lawrence Street had a lot to say about our economic situation. His shop was empty, despite racks of well priced bicycles and a large selection of fuel-efficient scooters. Cole and Wheel Works employee Kevin Campbell were behind the counter, with Campbell working on a bike. When asked how the economy is affecting his business Cole said “the long and short of it for the business is a big negative effect.” The best business that Wheel Works has seen since they opened in 2001 was in 2008, while gas prices were extremely high. Cole’s business dropped right along with gas prices, and things have gotten so slow that he has been forced to cut his employee’s hours. Campbell said that his hours have been cut substantially. He was a full-time employee before these tough economic times, but lately he has been working less than 20 hours a week. Cole foresees more tough economic times on the way, but he is optimistic about the future of Wheel Works. He believes it is only a matter of time before gas prices climb back up, and that bikes and scooters are the transportation of the future.
Paul Sexton at New Frontier Market at Van Buren Street and West 8th Avenue had a brighter story to tell. Sexton said that business has remained steady, and added that if anything things have been busier than when he started two years ago. New Frontier has a couple of full-time employees but most of the staff works part time, and nobody has seen a cut in their hours.
Anne Gregory, a resident of Jefferson Westside who is a server at Sushi Domo, has also seen things changing during the economic downturn. Gregory was worried after Hynix closed in 2008, because Sushi Domo was a popular spot amongst Hynix employees. Despite losing that customer base Gregory has not seen a change in her schedule, and Sushi Domo has been hiring twice a year as they always have. Gregory said that Sushi Domo was recently voted the best sushi in Eugene in the Eugene Weekly, and attributes some of the restaurant’s success to that. “Little stuff like that is how you keep your head above water,” Gregory said. Gregory added “if your restaurant hasn’t shut down at this point you’ll probably be ok.”
The current economic situation is affecting the day to day routine of Jefferson Westside without a doubt; some businesses are feeling the pinch more than others, but everyone is feeling it.