SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Realities locals have to face
By Charles Edwardson


November 09, 2007
Friday AM

The jewelry stores are closed. The streets are clear (empty would be more accurate) and Ketchikan residents are few and far between (and it is not just because tour season is over). Locals do not frequent the downtown area for the most part. As I've worked on projects in downtown Ketchikan over the past decade this is a reality I have noticed.

A visitor form Idaho, or Iowa or something like that, wrote Sitnews and would like us local residents to set up shop on the front streets of our little town to sell local... something.

I know of three spaces available, now would be the time for one of the year round vibrant businesses to establish themselves in downtown Ketchikan. The only problem I would see if I wanted to open a business in Ketchikan is there would be very few customers in my store. Even if I could find a spot for a thousand a month. Utilities and oil, would add another thousand or so a month , plus wages for myself or a worker - that would have to be a minimum of $2,800 to $3,000 thousand a month. This is bare minimum just to survive until some foot traffic arrives when the tour boats start up again. This total of 5000 thousand dollars per month excludes inventory, merchandise, sales tax, Workman's comp, 941 taxes, and maintenance. Also to find a place for $1000 a month is not very realistic. So add it all up and I can see at least 6 to 7 thousand a month cash flow required to survive through the winter. What would we sell, and who would we sell it to in order to generate 6 to 7 thousand a month minimum?

These are the things we locals have to consider. When a visitor or tourist makes a comment like "why don't the locals have cute little shops selling cute little local things" these are the realities we have to face here in Ketchikan. We are dependent on the increased foot traffic that starts in early May and ends in September . October, November December, January, February, March, April, are problematic. So when we review the municipal revenue report on sales tax income for the city of Ketchikan we will know that this is a fact.

We are dependent on the visitor industry and the shops that cater to the industry at this time are the Jewelry shops that are closed for the winter. I for one look forward to them opening up again.

Charles Edwardson
Ketchikan, AK

Received November 08, 2007 - Published November 09, 2007



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