Pendleton's downtown has been getting a lot of press lately. Just to recap for those who have not followed the news, the first item of interest was that Pendleton can now have saddle makers as a result of a recommendation by the City Planning Committee. Apparently, it was forbidden to make leather goods in downtown Pendleton as a result of a statute that had been on the books for a long period of time. Apparently, the consultants hired to promote downtown business have never been to Hamley's or the other saddle makers who have been making products from leather for years.
They also coupled this recommendation with a green light for breweries on Main Street. My concern is whether there is a major market for a glass of beer that costs $5. More affluent communities like Walla Walla can support a venture like this, but I wonder whether there are any other possibilities other than the sale of high-end beer. I don't think Great Pacific would flourish if they only sold their wide variety of beer that appeals to those with a discriminating palette. They provide a variety of food, beverages and entertainment.
The other issue related to downtown was the debate between the downtown business people and the Main Street Cowboys about the gypsy merchants who settle in downtown during Round-Up. For anyone who is sober during the Round-Up, it is easy to observe that the local downtown merchants do not benefit from the cornucopia of products sold by the "invaders" who reap the profits and then move on to the next event. There is no parking and visitors are there to purchase trinkets, get drunk, ride the bucking bull, consume junk food or watch the entertainment.
We need businesses that will flourish year around on Main Street. Franchises study a town's demographics and conduct a marketing survey to see if there is a demand for their goods or services. The East Oregonian should print up a survey to find out what people in the community want and businesses that they would patronize.