While smaller businesses are trickling in, Papa’s Ice Cream, the longest running retail tenant in Washougal Town Square, is closing on February 9. However, Taylor said interested buyers are already lining up for the shop’s space.
“It’s a sad loss for the community and an unfortunate turn of events for us the building owners,” Taylor said. “Ivan, the owner of Papa’s has been a staple in the community for a long time. We’re seeing a tremendous amount of interest in his business…”
Looking ahead, Taylor said he is entirely optimistic that some of the vacant spaces in the area will garner interest and possibly pick up a few tenants before the end of the year.
“The number of businesses that have come in during the past few years hopefully indicates that the floodgates are about to open,” he said. “I don’t think anyone really knows the impact that Amnesia (Brewing) will have and we’re certainly optimistic about increase in foot traffic through that business opening.”
So what is bringing businesses to Washougal? According to Taylor, it’s the city’s affordability, its close-knit community feel, views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood, access to the river, pathways in downtown and a close proximity to amenities.
“People who want to come here and make things – whether it’s websites or artisan coffee or beer – we’re looking to partner with those types of entrepreneurs,” Taylor said. “It’s a great time to get on the ground floor and really continue the momentum we’re experiencing here in downtown Washougal.”
Washougal’s Interim Community Development Director Mitch Kneipp echoed Taylor’s belief that this is a time of growth for the city, and he, too, is optimistic about the direction the city is headed in.
“I think we’re skipping off the bottom of the recession and hopefully we’re seeing things moving forward,” Kneipp said. “There’s definitely a desire on a city’s part to have that momentum, and get that momentum going, and I think that you see that with Lone Wolf folks. They have that desire to get that momentum going and just pick ourselves up and get going again.”