New business development picking up steam in Downtown Tigard

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Compared with the last few years, new businesses are booming in Tigard.

Gabe Velásquez, chair of the Tigard Town Center Advisory Commission, reported at the March 5 town council meeting that the uptick in the number of new businesses is big news.

“I don’t really feel like 2023 was a big year for actual improvement, but I do want to say that 2024 has been, maybe even massive, in the change,” he said.

Velásquez cited a new downtown Mexican restaurant that opened last month, which he said is “a pretty big improvement to the state of food and dining there on Main Street.”

Downtown businesses have struggled for some time, but the future looks much brighter.

“So now we see a revitalization and a new set of faces come in, and it’s wonderful,” he said.

Another new business is Libarius, a chocolate shop at 12289 SW Main St. that serves “really, really delicious confections and chocolate,” Velásquez said. This is the kind of specialty shop rarely seen in this area.

He also cited a new butcher shop coming in at the south end of town in the old ProDesign Solutions building at 12568 SW Main St., but it won’t open any time soon, Velásquez said.

“There’s going to be a relatively lengthy buildout,” he said. “There’s a lot of permitting and such coming, but that’s a sign it’s moving forward, in my understanding.”

And that’s not all. Velásquez said three or four additional businesses are working with the city and other agencies to find the right spot, he said, “So there are some pretty big things coming.”  

Velásquez said there’s much to celebrate for the new businesses coming to Tigard.

“There’s starting to be a feeling that investing is possible and profitable at this point, whereas in the past few years, it’s been tough,” he said.

Small Business Administration loans are hard to come by, and rates are high, he said, so it hasn’t been “the right feel” for a lot of people to start a new business, but some are doing it anyway.

“People are popping up, people are investing, people are putting themselves out there,” he said. “And I personally am impressed.”

The state’s recent quarterly report on economic and revenue forecast looks at four main avenues of growth: the state’s dynamic labor supply, the state’s industrial structure and the current number of start-ups, or new businesses formed.

The report states that the labor force is in good shape and “has never been larger,” and new businesses point to economic recovery.

New ideas come from entrepreneurs, the report states, but unfortunately, in the decades leading up to the pandemic, “start-up activity…was declining as a share of a growing economy.”

However, the report states that new business formations increased during the pandemic, stopping the long-run decline.

It states that “New establishments continue to run at a higher level than in the year leading up to the pandemic.” 

The report states that these gains provide hope for future economic growth if these new firms bring new ideas, products, and efficiencies to the marketplace, and the more, the better.

“Even if the per firm probability of success remains the same,” states the report, “having more ping pong balls in the lottery increases the overall probability that a few will survive and succeed tremendously.”

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