It's not GM, but restaurant's closing worrisome anyway

The OlympianJanuary 5, 2009 

OLYMPIA — Plenty, a downtown restaurant that occupies a corner of the historic Angelus Building on Fourth Avenue, will close Sunday after nearly six years in business because of the slowing economy and rising costs, co-owner Jim Butigan said.

It is the second retailer to close downtown since November and the move raises new concerns about how small businesses downtown and throughout Thurston County will fare this year when faced with a slower economy. Some experts say that a downturn in fourth-quarter sales could spell trouble for those businesses that rely on a boost in holiday business to carry them through the slower first and second quarters of the year.

In November, Earth Sticks, an ecofriendly retailer of hand-carved walking sticks, shut its storefront because of a downturn in business, owner Dirk Dahl said. On the west side, Olympia Art & Frame closed its art supply business through a liquidation sale; the restaurant Mojito Bay, at Westfield Capital mall, also has closed.

Butigan acknowledged that Plenty had become a fixture in downtown Olympia but higher gasoline prices, a rising state minimum wage and increased restaurant competition over the years had eroded its business.

"We don't have the latitude to wait it out," Butigan said.

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