PNW businesses show resiliency

New WSU survey finds 36 businesses permanently, 73 temporarily closed



Despite COVID-19 setbacks, businesses in the Pacific Northwest have stayed resilient, according to a survey from the Carson College of Business. The report showed that hospitality businesses took one of the hardest hits.

SANDI KOBIESA, Multimedia editor

COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions hit businesses across the Pacific Northwest hard and it’s safe to say that not one business was immune to the lack of customers, especially small businesses.

WSU’s Carson College of Business conducted an annual survey with Edelman Intelligence, a global research consultancy firm, to get more insight into the pandemic’s impact on local businesses. They interviewed a total of 301 businesses in the Pacific Northwest.

The survey found that from the total businesses surveyed, 36 businesses permanently closed and 73 temporarily closed. Some local restaurants that closed in Pullman include Stubblefields and The Daily Grind’s main cafe.

Chip Hunter, WSU Carson College of Business dean, said the biggest take away from the survey was the majority of businesses remained optimistic and resilient.

“Pullman’s adapted very well with state government regulations, and businesses created ways to accommodate the virus,” Hunter said. “They’re finding what works for them and what doesn’t, and will most likely continue on with this to promote their business.”

Edelman Intelligence interviewed a wide variety of businesses, ranging from retail to food services.

Non-essential businesses were affected the most, Hunter said, as 84 percent reported negative impacts from COVID-19. Hospitality businesses, like hotels, took one of the largest hits.

In a study conducted in 2019, businesses were shown to be prospering. About 61 percent of business owners felt like the climate for their business was strengthening. Those businesses also thought they were more efficient with newer technology.

A study in 2018 found 81 percent of businesses felt like the business climate was only getting better, while 47 percent of businesses were worried about the overall growth in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, 30 percent of people said they moved to the Pacific Northwest just to raise a family. This correlated with the spike in the job environment and economic climate, according to the report.

The economy looked different in 2018, 2019 and 2020 with the pandemic affecting almost every business, Hunter said.

The Daily Grind, for instance, had three different locations in Pullman but closed their main location in May.

“It is with a heavy heart that we will be closing our main coffee shop location. We are incredibly sad to do so and appreciate all of your business throughout the years,” the Daily Grind’s website wrote.

The Coug closed down temporarily between March and June and slowly started to reopen, according to The Daily Evergreen. They now follow strict regulations to stay open.

With the new regulations in place, many businesses had to adapt to be able to still provide their services. Many restaurants, including Sella’s Calzone & Pizza, Zoe Coffee and Kitchen and O-Ramen, began curbside pickup, takeout and delivery.