Influx of new business downtown

April’s shower of business closures on Pioneer Way in downtown Oak Harbor cleared the space for a fresh crop of entrepreneurs in May.

Scott and Miki Wotring opened Good Times, a pizza, pasta, salad and dessert buffet at the Island Cafe’s former location; Jose and Sylvia Salgado remodeled Harborside Village shop, formerly the Stamping Pad, into Sports Look, a sport, activewear and urban fashion boutique; and Jenn Blanchard and Jessica Van Velkinburgh transformed the former Fancy Pants storefront on Pioneer Way into Allure Salon and Spa.

The new additions come after business along Pioneer Way appeared to wane in April. Three previously vacant storefronts remained unfilled and four businesses closed their doors for different reasons including low sales, poor health and retirement, among other factors.

Struggling downtown businesses owners weren’t imagining the dip in consumer spending. A comparison of Oak Harbor’s first quarter sales tax revenue from 2007 to 2009, shows a dip in shoppers’ ability — or willingness — to spend. This year’s first quarter tax revenues brought in $55,405 less than 2007 and $57,182 less than 2008.

Although several shops filled up in May, one fixture will soon leave. Long-time downtown business owner Bruce King recently posted a bight orange “going out of business” poster in the window of his shop, King’s Sport’s Cards. But the economy is not the reason behind the closing, King said.

“This is still my second best year in sales,” he said, citing personal reasons for shuttering the shop.

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