Friday, March 16, 2007

Have a Heart for Hawthorne

Small businesses are not DVD players. You can't just hit the pause button and come back later. They are more like plants that must be tended to and watered or they will die. The construction work on Hawthorne is a threat to these businesses' chance of survival. It's that simple. The Tabor Hill Cafe, around 38th on the south side of the street, is a perfect example of what makes Portland great - the person running this business couldn't be nicer. He's not just a great person - he's also got a lot of depth as a human being. His wife's pregnant and he's working ungodly hours to keep things going.His business was already impacted by the recent work across the street that made it tough to cross over, and that went on for weeks. Now they're at his door. The first shot is from yesterday. The sign might say open but you literally couldn't get in until around 2 p.m. Today it looks like this. You can get in on a dirt path, but at first it doesn't appear like you can from the other side of the street, so business suffers. The Portland Freelancer is going to keep track of how long till this is back to normal. There were no workmen on the site this morning, but maybe they'll come back Monday.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be heading out for breakfast or lunch in the Hawthorne area, consider the Tabor Hill Cafe. Think of it as fighting City Hall and sticking up for the small business owners of America.


At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree with the point of the article - spend money with the businesses - I would like to comment that the "fighting city hall" aspect is a bit off the mark.

Do you propose that we never work on anything? At some point in time there are going to be business disruptions - and a small business MUST plan for those to be successful.

I heard from all sorts of businesses in Westmoreland who complained that the Bybee bridge being closed was causing them to go out of business. Give me a break, the whole time the bridge was closed there was just as many people in Sellwood-Moreland as there was any other time. We had the same waits at restaurants and things looked just as busy. Things like this tend to become an easy crutch or excuse for businesses to blame when they don't execute well.

And if "City Hall" doesn't make improvements or fix roads, people complain just as much.

So I just want to say that - yeah, it kinda sucks. Just like the businesses downtown right now. And I agree - people remember that and try to frequent the places that you normally would - don't be deterred by construction.

But in the end the improvements will make things nicer and possibly increase revenue...

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

In the end things will be better but a business can lose a lot of momentum and even close waiting for the end.
The anti-city hall part refers to the planning. I know they can do things right like repaving 39th but I was disappointed with the length of time it took to do some of these parts of Hawthorne. One step was taken and then it sat there for weeks waiting to be completed. That included across the street from this restaurant. The one up by 50th was torn up for months. How about designing things so the steps occur one after another?
By the way, in no way am I expressing any opinion but my own here.

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day Tabor Hill Cafe rocked. There were lines out the door and it would have taken much more than a torn up sidewalk to keep people away.

These days, it's hard for me to feel like it's the government and torn up sidewalks that are hurting profits. Really, this was the wrong poster child to pick.

I'm sure that the owners are nice people. I'm sorry that his wife is pregnant and times are stressful. However their business woes have lots more to do with the product than anything that COP is doing.

At 5:27 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Whatever your opinion is of the product, the business was at one level and it has been hurt by the construction, including the sites across the street that sat there unfinished for several weeks.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

To the comment who used this occasion to write a restaurant review and say this is the wrong representative for small businesses in Hawthorne:
I checked and this guy has been there 12 years. Whatever he's doing has worked for that long. I've seen a lot of places come and go in that time. By the way his loyal customers also found their way through the construction, too, so if it doesn't last too long, he should be okay.


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