Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Burn lights for tourists

As a busy business owner myself here in Oak Harbor, I would like to point out what I refer to as the obvious reason as to why the downtown struggles to succeed. It is not a change of landscape that is the key. It is much simpler.

As a transplant from Oregon, nearly nine years ago, I’m accustomed to the tourist towns like Seaside, Cannon Beach and Lincoln City. I still visit them annually with my kids and wife. And we find ourselves visiting La Conner, Leavenworth and Port Townsend regularly as well. Why? Because their shops are all open for business on Saturdays and Sundays. This is what tourists refer to as getting away for the weekend.

Because many of the business owners downtown are what I refer to as “hobby owners,” many don’t feel the need to be open the entire weekend, because they need it off to complain about how business stinks. Meanwhile, those tourists who want to get away for the weekend visit a dark downtown and conclude, “This town needs help.”

Wouldn’t it make more sense to be open for the weekend, employ a teenager for a few hours to keep the lights on, and close Mondays and Tuesdays to recover from counting all those hard earned tourist dollars over the weekend?

I’m not saying it will fix the problem overnight. After all, it took a few years to create the spider web. It will take a few years to bring the busy tourist bugs back, and the landscape will naturally change.

Kudos to those owners who already get it. For the rest, you probably need to stay open on these three-day holiday weekends instead of getting away for the weekend yourself. Did I mention my successful business burns its lights seven days a week?

Joshua Bradford

Oak Harbor

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