Jim sometimes refers to our annual trips to San Diego as my own form of pilgrimage. I get to soak up the friendly/laid-back Southern California culture, eat lots of good seafood, luxuriate in the sun, breathe in the ocean air, stare out at the amazing views of the California coastline, and, shop at some of my favorite boutiques! Usually, the minute we arrive in our hotel room, I'm saying to him "I'm not leaving!"
One aspect of this trip had a very somber note. I was shocked at the number of retail vacancies downtown and in La Jolla. Especially since we had just been there in late October 2009. In less than a year, many businesses have closed, some of which had only been open less than two years. I honestly can't help myself, now that I've gotten into the habit of always looking at space. In fact, I had told my mom (prior to going to La Jolla) that we would visit certain stores. At least half those stores were no longer there and the spaces were sadly empty.
In talking with one of my favorite boutique owners in La Jolla, she said that the combination of the economy and the cooler weather this year had devastated many of the businesses. Many did not have appropriate cash reserves to keep going when tourism dipped by a significant amount.
Believe me when I tell you that I think about things like this ALL the time. The economics of the business and the effect it could have on our financial situation was a big deterrent for a very long time in my decision-making process. And I know failure is a possibility. Seeing the situation there makes my conviction even stronger that I follow my business plan and remain thoughtful and flexible in my business decisions.