Bremerton, WALately been keeping my ear to the ground and have overhead workers at three businesses discussing among themselves about their hours being cut.

One place was a 7-Eleven and two restaurants.

I don't see things improving. consider me a skeptic.



Al Corwin writes:

I'm in Bremerton, WA, sixteen miles due west of Seattle. Bremerton is a Navy town, and it has always been somewhat immune from the ups and downs of the national economy. It usually does slightly better when the military is in use (like now), and slightly worse when the need for the military seems less acute. This time is different.

The town became flush in the past decade as the one-hour ferry ride to Seattle became a pleasant option to Seattle traffic. All of this was due to the boom in housing. When things started to fall apart, they fell apart more here than closer to the city because of the relative inconvenience. Despite getting an inordinately high number of stimulus projects here, the town is hurting like never before.

Fully a third of the storefronts in town are now empty. Two restaurants closed last week, one of which was a successful business for over thirty years. The only good news I see is that my friends who are contractors are getting enough work to get by now whereas a year ago they were all working on their golf game because business was non-existent.

Another friend runs a temp agency, and his business has turned up sharply over the last three months. That's usually a sign of recovery, but he says the demand shows no signs of being long-lasting, and so far, there has been very little attempt to turn temps into permanent employees.

The only new retail businesses in town are drugstores. Rite-Aid has built a new store and Walgreen has added two. I don't really understand this. It's not like we had a shortage of drugstores before, and this is only a town of forty thousand people. Something has to give.

In fact, I do notice new drugstores everywhere I go. What is up with this?


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