The correlation with payroll taxes and transit is interesting: They paid zero in payroll tax for transit in Salem, and continue to pay a much higher rate on payroll in Portland.
And, again, the Portland store (206 NW 23rd) remained open when they closed the Salem store.
Back in 2012, Holiday Retirement also moved corporate offices from Salem to Lake Oswego, which collects the payroll tax for transit as well.
So that is evidence, n=2 anecdotal evidence anyway, that paying more payroll tax for better transit could be related to business prosperity. And that "free" payroll tax in Salem for not-very-good transit could be a factor in business struggle and even failure.
That old bromide of "you get what you pay for" and all?
Back to Exit Real World, this is speculation, but it seems like the customer demographics would include a large proportion of youth, many of whom would be transit dependent. Because we don't have evening or weekend service, they would lack transportation here when they are not in school.
The story in the paper a year ago in August seems to support this hypothesis:
Exit Real World, a staple of downtown for 21 years that at one point had five stores in Oregon, will close the store that started it all on Saturday to focus on its remaining location in Portland.
Owners Jake Hauswirth and Missy Samiee said the business has struggled in recent years through the recession and with competition from online retailers and chain stores. While focusing on their more successful Portland location makes sense for the married couple, they said they're disappointed to leave a community that has supported them for the past two decades.
"Thanks to parents for driving their kids down here at 5:30 after work — we know that's not easy," said Samiee, who has three kids of her own. "As much as we love it here — Jake and I are both from Salem and have lived here our whole lives — it's just a bit easier on the day-to-day." [italics added]
|From Existing Conditions Report,|
Jarrett Walker + Associates
(Additional notes in red added;
when employment stabilized, transit still declined)
And this looks like it could be evidence from one business that investing in transit is just that, an investment in customers and in increased transactions, and not a jobs-killing drain on business enterprise.
And it seems like there is an opportunity to collect stories from businesses that have been harmed by the reduction in service from 2009 and whose businesses may not have rebounded in tandem with the general rebound in the business economy or stock market. Is it really that difficult to document the impact of disinvestment in transit on business? The business case for transit isn't that difficult to make, is it?
Two examples aren't proof, of course, but they might point towards a hypothesis that Cherriots would do well to investigate.