Category Archives: Economics

Uptown Downtown

This is the image Paul Eberharter provided to the city, his vision of the future of Wheaton Way.

The city council approved a subarea plan for the neighborhood near Wheaton Way and Riddell Road that includes streetfront retail replacing the massive parking lots in place now.

Picture the scene above in place of the empty building Lowe’s once occupied. There is the not-so-small matter that K-Mart, Rite-Aid and Goodwill still take up some pretty big footprints on the street. Think years, not months.

Sooner, however, would be the City Villa residential development.

It’s one small part of the Wheaton corridor, but a city council can hope.

Behind the Bank

Based on the comments following Tuesday’s story about Westsound Bank, some people question the truth of the core story.

To be clear, the function the company is removing is the one that sells loans to other companies, but is not giving up on lending. That’s a major part of Westsound’s business, and its president, Dave Johnson, said it will continue to be.

It may be that there’s more to the story, but it also may be that getting loans to secondary lenders will be cheaper by hiring someone else than doing it in house.

No matter what the story is, it is, as one commenter noted, a tough development for 33 people.

Pent up Demand for Popeyes?

Quick. Who’s the new restaurant Popeyes named after?

You’re probably wrong, but then you might have guessed that just because I bothered to ask. The chain is not named after the pipe-smoking sailor with the abnormally large forearms. It is, however, named after a fictional character. Gene Hackman won an Oscar for his role as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. Myself, I’m wondering where the name “Popeye” came from anyway, but I probably won’t find out anytime soon.

The Cajun-themed restaurant opened a location on Wheaton Way last week, adding a bright red and yellow to the street’s landscape. Most would concede that it’s better than the abandoned-building look it had prior to that.

The new Popeyes in Bremerton is drawing crowds.

We first told you in January that Popeyes was coming. The chain has had a South Kitsap location since sometime in 2006.

The chicken comes spicy or regular, but it’s the spicy that distinguishes Popeyes from its chicken neighbor up the street, KFC.

One of our editors sent me a note last week.

I went home on Wheaton Way and went by Popeyes, which apparently opened that day. When I went by (again, after 8 pm) the place was a madhouse and there were cars backed up from the drivein window all the way around the building and back out to the entrance at the street in front. A few blocks down I went past KFC. There was not a single car in the drive through and not much evidence of activity.

There must have been some huge pent up demand for Popeyes because I’ve never seen a fast food place in this town so backed up.

I drove by there around 10:30 a.m. today and shot the pictures here, and while the store wasn’t packed there was a pretty big crowd for that early in the morning. I had no idea people wanted chicken that early.

So, were you among those aching for Popeyes?

Little Store

It’s a new, old scene at the corner of Trenton and Stone (or is it Stoneway?) as former neighbors bring groceries sold in a small store back to the neighborhood.

People wishing for the success of walkable communities had better wish The Little Store does well. While it’s true that most of the items inside are designed for quick consumption, it’s also a place to get in and out of quickly when one or two are all that are necessary.

The store has had a few incarnations since opening in the 1940s, including one stint as a place to get illegal drugs, or at least the materials to make them. Now the owners are keeping it fairly simple, while planning to add barbecue and deli offerings in the future.

Hey Sailor

This was the sign early Thursday morning outside a Wheaton Way restaurant. More businesses are sure to capitalize on the return of Stennis personnel.

Some of the beneficiaries of the homecoming of the U.S.S. John C. Stennis are local businesses who have missed out on the bounty of 3,000 sailors living in town. In Monday’s Kitsap Sun Josh Farley and I talked to some of those hoping to cash in on the Stennis’ return.

“I think you’ve got 3,000 people out of town that normally shop in town,” said Frank Gentile, operations manager at the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce. “The businesses, especially the hotels and restaurants, have felt the pinch of those guys being away and I think they’ll be happy to see them come back.”

It ends up being more than 3,000, considering many of the sailors’ families live elsewhere while the ship is at sea.

Your Home’s Value

Some backstory about Sunday’s treatment on real estate prices.

A year ago it was oh so easy to find a home seller willing to be in the paper. If I’d asked for anyone this week, it probably would have been easy again.

What I sought, however, was someone who listed at one price, then after not selling for a while decided to lower the list price. No one wanted to be the face of that. No one wanted to be the photo in a story about a soft market. Can you blame them?

We’ve been reporting on the consistent increases in median home price, but Sunday’s story makes it clear that the overall market doesn’t exactly translate to individual homes. The only sellers likely to really lose in this market are those who bought a year ago. Most the rest are still walking away with equity.