Is the weather driving businesses to Port Angeles?

KING 5's Eric Wiklinson reports.

Starting a small business can be brutal work, but Cody Houston is prepared for the fight. His new mixed martial arts studio called Cageworx opened up in March. He moved from Bellingham to Port Angeles because it just felt right.

"I think there's a lot of new energy, and that's why we're seeing so many new businesses popping up," he said.

But what's generating that energy?

Cageworx is one of at least 37 businesses to have opened, reopened or relocated to Port Angeles since May. It's an unheard of number for this city of just 19,000 on the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. Many of the businesses are coming from out of town, others from out of state, including a guitar maker from Oakland, California and a Mexican restaurant from San Diego.

Apparently, it isn't just the business climate that's attracting new enterprise. It's the climate itself.

"We're hearing that a lot," said Jim Moran, president of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce. "Would you rather live in a city that's 72 degrees in the summer or 95 degrees? Even Seattle gets that."

Because of a "rain shadow" created by the Olympic Mountains, Port Angeles gets far less precipitation than Seattle and about a quarter of the rain the city of Atlanta receives.

With the rest of the country sweltering during the summer, then getting buried by blizzards, Port Angeles is an easy sell.

"We definitely use it in our marketing," said Moran. "People from all over are coming here and we expect it to continue."


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