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Bisbee Wire/Bisbee economy/2018 March #4


Return of the Turkey Vultures had success in 2017 and likely will draw more peeps this Spring. Cady Daly has enlisted local restaurants to join the fun so look for Vulture appropriate dishes and drinks around town this weekend. The parade begins on Saturday at Goar park at 10 am. Alice in Bisbeeland happens in April as does the vintage baseball tournament. Look for OB to continue to be busy.

Some ruminations on the economy below. Some good signs. Raw stats at the end of this.


............................... NEW BUSINESSES

January Business Licenses

Bisbee Looking Glass, Inc.

27 Subway SP # 4

Bisbee, AZ 85603

Owner: Kara Azzabi

Ace Remodeling & Repair

5962 E. 17th St.

Tucson, AZ 85711

Owner: Charles L. Martin, Jr.

Diamondback Roofing

2333 E. 36th St.

Tucson, AZ 85713

Owner: Jose Bojorquez

February Business Licenses

905 Tombstone Canyon

Bisbee, AZ 85603

Owner: Lori Gunnel & Philip Bynoe

Bisbee Good Cakes

105 N. Main St.

Bisbee, AZ 85603

Owner: Thomas G. Jackson

Look Vintage & Modern Gallery

38 Main St.

Bisbee, AZ 85603

Owner: Mark R. Jay

Articles of Incorporation 11 Howell Avenue LLC Helen Laminen, manager Mule Mountain Minerals 6 Mojave Trail Daniel Driscoll, agent

Stanhope Store Tray Wernet, agent

Bisbeens and Rice LLC 24 Main St. Ben Morgan, agent Paper Egg 72 Main St. Yonatan Evans, Manager Studio Mariposa (nonprofit) Gretchen Baer, manager

BISBEE CITY EMPLOYMENT Mine tour office assistant Pool Manager Pool Lifeguards Police Volunteers (unpaid)

................................ BISBEE ECONOMY

Since Retail/restaurant-bar/lodging sales stats are now running about four months behind it is a snapshot of how the Bisbee economy was doing towards the end of last year. But with the wild fluctuations of restaurant/lodging stats, which used to be a lockstep indicator of visitor spending, and the refusal of the AZ Dept of Revenue to put out sales stats for cities,only counties, it has, for me, become less reliable. I now generally look to housing, building permits, new business licenses, and visitation as a sign of the health or weakness of the economy.

The overall Bisbee economy had some significant gains in 2017 according to reported stats. The housing market continues to be strong as does remodeling and that bodes well for the two hardware companies as well as contractors and employees.  Sales of commercial buildings have improved bringing new ownership and businesses to town. There is a fledgling revival of Subway street with four new business now occupying the buildings and monthly events scheduled.

National press continues to bring new people to town. I've had three bookings at our Inn directly because they saw the Good Morning America piece about Bisbee. Another couple of inquiries because of the vintage baseball tournament.

Retail sales continue a downward trend; from Oct of 2017, 15 of the past 22 months have been down. That seems to reflect an increase in online shopping, leakage to Sierra Vista, and spending on experiences rather than things. When retail is mentioned often Old Bisbee shopping comes to mind, however Safeway, B&D, Ace are bigger drivers of retail. Unfortunately there is no way to get separate stats about retail sales. Since Safeway is private there is no way to get actual sales data, but I suspect their sales are most impacted by leakage-customers going to SV. There were 50% increase in sales of  commercial buildings year to year; a total of $2,042,910 in commercial sales in 2017 contrasted to $1,040,500 in 2016. In 2017 there was a 15% increase in the dollar amount of residential sales (MLS only). $17,548,783 in 2017 compared to $15,212,078 in 2016. January of 2018 shows a robust $1,552,482 in housing sales.

In 2017, following the continued strong housing marker there were vigorous signs of remodeling, a 24% increase in the dollar amount over 2016.  And while residential remodels gained $370,821, commercial permits  increased $586,404. Permits for 2017 totaled $4,017,944; residential $2,578,999 and commercial $1,438,945. In 2016 permits totaled $3,060,719; residential was $2,208,178, commercial $852,541.

There was a drop of 1282 people taking the mine tour this past year, likely the result of the age restrictions imposed in 2017. Comparing January of 2018 with last January, 300 more people have taken the tour.  I am going to try and get monthly dollar amounts for the tour and for the gift store, to see how revenues compare. But hopefully that is a harbinger of things to come this year.

There was about the same number of visitors in January compared to past. A few more using the VIO ad a few less clocking in the VC. However there was significantly more social media activity and a big increase in visits to the website. January seems to indicate more interest in Bisbee.


ECOASIS IS IN BUSINESS Veggies, coffee, salads, lotsa good stuff. Check em out on Hwy 92 by the Double P....520-981-3739 <><><><><><><><><><><><><><

BUY LOCAL CAMPAIGN Local First has kicked off a Buy Local campaign with some eye-opening statistics about the positive impact of buying locally as opposed to big box or online. You can see some comparisons here: For instance an Americano at the Bisbee Coffee Co. costs 56 cents less that Starbucks at Safeway. And there is a wealth of studies supporting community sustainable models of buying locally as opposed to the money/job/business draining purchasing online. Go here for info: Rachael Hudson is the Local First rep in Bisbee, She is also funded through a grant to work at the Bisbee Visitor Center. you can reach her at the Bisbee Visitor Center at 432-3554.

And more...Local First had a mixer at Central School last month that drew about 75 people. It would be a boon to have some sort of business organization through which comments, opinions, and concerns could be channeled. Since the Chamber is defunct-an organization in name only-and Destination Bisbee is not active except for the most excellent map put out by a few people, there is no business organization. That has led to somewhat of a  disconnect between businesses and the City and residents. It an historical problem that squarely rests with OB businesses; Lots of talk/complaining but little follow-through. (Another time I'll give a brief history of business organizations in the past 20 years to illustrate the problem.)


The 2018 grant cycle of The Bisbee Foundation (TBF) opened on February 1st  Use the website,, to learn about specific grant guidelines and to download applications. Applications must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2018.

There are significant tax benefits in supporting The Bisbee Foundation. Anyone wishing  to establish an endowment (there is a minimum) or to support the  grant and scholarship programs or would like more information about our work can do so by calling me at 432-1418 or email


CAFE ROKA NEW DRINKS Check it out! An excellent article by Lauren in the Herald Review <><><><><><>><><><><><> STANDING DESKS EFFECT ON HEALTH I've been looking into standing desks as I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my compooter, and I don't get up and move as often as I should.   Fortuitously this article appeared citing a couple of studies that show the problems with standing desks if used extensively for long hours. As with many things, more info is needed. Read it here:

<><><><><><><><><><>< Houses sold

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