A chilly start for sales in downtown WinslowSeptember 7th, 2012 by Tad Sooter
The unveiling of a “friendlier” Winslow Way hasn’t sparked a resurgence for downtown businesses. At least not yet.
Sales tax figures released for the first six months of 2012 showed receipts from downtown Winslow were down 1.9 percent compared to the same period last year ($211,718 compared to $215,863). That figure might seem insignificant until you recall what Winslow Way looked like in the first half of 2011:
Sales were lower from January to June this year than in 2011, when shoppers braved a jungle of barricades and traffic cones to visit shops. Downtown continued to lose businesses as well, down to 172 from a total of 201 in 2011.
A number of factors probably contributed to the dip in sales, said Andrea Mackin, director of the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association. Construction on Winslow way straggled into spring. The loss of businesses and an especially soggy start to summer were probably factors as well.
“Without that our downtown lost some ability to have the critical visibility with local shoppers, as well as visitors,” Mackin said Thursday.
Mackin sent an email to the City Council this week, highlighting the dip in downtown sales tax revenue and asking the city to consider more funding for business revitalization through the Downtown Association.
She noted Winslow businesses account for a disproportionately large portion of sales tax revenue within the city. About 3 percent of island businesses are located in downtown, but those businesses generated 16 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue in the first half of 2012.
Elsewhere on the island, sales tax receipts were a mixed bag in the first half of the year. Tax revenue from the industrial area was down 30 percent, while construction-related revenue surged by 29 percent. Overall sales tax receipts were 8 percent higher in the first half of 2012 than the first half of 2011.
(FILE PHOTO BY MEEGAN REID)