The economic outlook in Lincoln County remained positive in 2018, which resulted in benefits to a number of small businesses in the area.
Lincoln County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in November, up slightly the previous month when it was at 4.6 percent.
Erik Knoder, a regional economist at the Oregon Unemployment Department, said in October, “We’re probably pretty close to the (lowest) rates we’re going to get in Lincoln County. The economy is good right now.”
One of the major drivers of the coastal economy continues to be tourism, which benefits many of the small businesses along the coast. And because this area is attractive to the retired population, another significant economic driver is transfer payments, which include money paid to retired seniors, like pensions and social security checks. And marine industries remain a large economic engine for the area. In addition to the commercial fishing fleet, this includes marine research, through facilities like NOAA and the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center.
New businesses open in county
Lincoln County saw a number of new businesses opening their doors in 2018, which is always a positive sign for the local economy.
Several of the new businesses were eating and drinking establishments. One of these was Ove Northwest, a fine dining restaurant located in Newport’s Nye Beach District. In February, a Domino’s Pizza franchise opened in Newport, and Domino’s cars can be seen delivering food around the area.
Some of the other businesses offering either sit-down dining experiences or food to go included Bosque Café & Espresso, located near Oregon Coast Community College in South Beach; Sea Note Lounge in Yachats; Robba Gump Smoke/n Fish in Depoe Bay; Ultralife Café in Newport; Bites on the Courtyard in Newport; D Doggs in Lincoln City; and Toledo Burrito in Toledo.
New retail stores were also opened around the county this past year. Dollar General in Yachats opened its doors shortly after the new year. In late 2017, Dollar General had opened a store in Waldport. The retail chain also had visions of Dollar General stores in the north county area and in Siletz, but nothing definite has happened in those areas.
In September, a new Ace Hardware store opened in the Pacific Plaza Shopping Center in Newport, just north of the Rite Aid store. Owner Bob Leis had been laying the groundwork for that new store for nearly two years before its opening.
C&K Trading Post opened in Siletz, and a business called Now and Then Treasures opened in Newport. A long-time business in Lincoln City, the Red Cock, was given new life when two new owners purchased the business and gave the store’s interior a makeover. Also in Lincoln City, Happy Trails Feed & Tack was opened to fill the needs of the people who own animals including horses, dogs and cats.
And Eager Beaver continued its expansion. What started as a small business in Newport’s Nye Beach District has grown to include a store in Newport’s city center, the Eager Beaver Discount Outlet, and two stores in Waldport, Eager Beaver Furniture Outlet and Eager Beaver Mattress Outlet. Owner Abe Silvonen said his goal is to make his Eager Beaver stores a destination on the coast.
Businesses that offer an experience
This last year also saw the opening of what could best be described as businesses that offer an experience. The Color Castle opened in the Aquarium Village in South Beach, offering face-painting, classic children’s toys, specialty balloons and a tower of candy for children of all ages. Coastal Combat opened in Newport, offering something for those seeking an entertaining challenge — laser tag and escape rooms.
And Cameron Rauenhorst started a business called Captain Clameron’s Excursions, offering guided tours and demonstrations to help people experience crabbing, clamming, fishing, mushroom hunting, or just about any other outdoor experience they can dream up. In October, Rauenhorst added Fossil Fun with Caveman Clam, taking over an enterprise previously run for the past two decades by Guy DiTorrice, aka the Fossil Guy, who moved to Idaho.
Health and fitness
In the health and fitness arena, SamFit officially opened its state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facility near Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. And Kayla Snow opened a business called business called CORE394 in Waldport, which offers 24-hour access to a fitness center as well as a tanning salon and barbershop services.
Other service businesses opened in 2018 included Anchors Away Massage in Toledo and Beauty Parlour 541 in Newport. There were also two new businesses providing services for senior citizens — Sunset Senior Living Center in Depoe Bay; Blue Heron In-Home Care in Newport.
Other new enterprises
Goodwill Industries opened a Donation Express in Newport in July, just north of Newport City Hall. This facility provides a covered, drive-thru location for people wanting to donate unwanted items to Goodwill. In the past, items were dropped off next to a Goodwill truck, and so people and their donations were exposed to the elements on the often times wet Oregon coast. Goodwill’s construction project in Newport also included a retail building, which the organization originally had intended to lease out as commercial space. It was later announced, however, that this 3,158-square-foot space will become a Goodwill Boutique, which was described as “a Goodwill store for the luxury shopper who likes fancy, but not the price tag.” This Goodwill Boutique is expected to open in early 2019.
Just a few weeks ago, a new BottleDrop Redemption Center was opened in Newport. This facility, which offers several ways for people to redeem Oregon deposit containers, took over the building that had previously been occupied by Phagans’ Newport Academy of Cosmetology, which closed its doors on March of 2017 after more than 20 years of operation on the coast. The building had sat vacant for about a year and a half before BottleDrop began an extensive remodeling project for its new facility.
Several businesses close
It wasn’t all cheery news for Lincoln County businesses this past year, as several closed their doors. Among these were several in the Newport area, including The Gluten Free Place in the Sea Towne Shopping Center, Coastal Breeze and Manoosh clothing boutique in Nye Beach, Ocean Pulse Surf and Skate in city center, and four businesses on the west end of the Newport Bayfront — Saffron Salmon, Sherman’s Emporium, Apollo’s Restaurant and Nightclub and M&P Authentic Thai Cuisine.
New projects underway
This next year shows promise for more growth among local businesses. Already under construction are a couple of businesses in Newport. Alan Brown Tire Center is in the process of constructing a new building on East Olive Street, and a building that will house Newport Brewing Company is being built on Canyon Way.
Space constraints for this article prevent the listing of all of the business changes that occurred in Lincoln County during 2018, but it has been a busy year, and the business outlook and coastal economy look promising moving into the next year and beyond.