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Long time Yelm fixture Arnold’s Country Inn has announced their last day of operation will be this Sunday, June 22nd.

Please stop by and wish Rick & Judy Sutherland well in their next adventures.

Arnold’s has been THE PLACE for the finest in Northwest Cuisine, wines, service & atmosphere whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner for over 20 years.

Rick told the Yelm Community Blog host that they have been a specialty restaurant with their “bread & butter” customers coming for the fine food & country atmosphere from Lakewood, Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia & Panorama City in Lacey. With gas prices well over $4.25 a gallon, the drive to Yelm has those customers staying close to their homes.

Many of our area’s teenagers have waited on us for decades and received their very first customer service training right here. This restaurant will be sorely missed.

[Ed. Note: This is not just a local phenomenon. This writer was visiting his family last month in Louisville, KY. when this was reported in Louisville’s Courier-Journal:
“How Restaurants feel the bite of higher costs”
“Skyrocketing fuel costs and rising commodity prices are affecting bottom lines in restaurants across Louisville, cutting into the already-tight profits of the city’s independently owned eateries.

Consumer prices last month were up 3.9 percent over a year earlier, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the past 15 years. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent report forecasts increases through next year.

Basic economics account for most of the increase: Bad weather has hurt crops, economic prosperity has driven up demand in developing countries, and surging fuel prices have hiked transportation costs.

Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association, said the national trends can be seen throughout the commonwealth.”]

“Small businesses fighting to survive”
“Many owners say they are hanging by a thread that may soon snap”
From the AP on June 9.

The loss of Arnold’s good-paying jobs with tips, business and occupation taxes, sales tax revenue and traffic to their restaurant for adjacent businesses will reduce income to the City of Yelm’s bottom line, as discussed here just Monday.
And, Applebee’s pulled their plans for a Yelm restaurant.

However, some fast food restaurants are seeing increases in traffic, as people are moving from specialty restaurants into fast food to save money, as reported in this June 10th New York Times story.
A new Pizza Hut and KFC open soon in Yelm and Starbucks just opened its first company store here.

As Mr. Sutherland stated, the customers that would drive out to Yelm for the country ambiance are just not making the drive out here. Gordon’s Garden Center attracted alot of customers to Yelm from afar for their unique product line and formerly advertised on Seattle’s KIRO-710 radio. The drive to Yelm for many is just not palatable anymore. With +$100 a barrel gas seemingly here to stay, several local real estate agents have reported that some of their customers have listed their homes here for sale to move closer to Tacoma or Olympia, to reduce the expensive commute.

Remember when Panorama City residents and many others would take a day trip to Yelm and bring 10-30 people on buses for lunch at Arnold’s and a matine at the Drew Harvey Theater? Now, that country ambiance is to be gone!

Posted by Steve on June 18, 2008 at 6:53 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. I do not understand why or how our community would support big franchise over small family owned and run business. The corporations are driving up the cost and helping the small guy go out of business. This town needs to wake up if they want good solid businesses and a real place to go. I sure hope this town will not be a ghost town before long. People please help your small local business, they are here for you. The big corporations are here for your money.

    Comment by barbara on July 12, 2008 at 3:17 am

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