More chain restaurants on the way to Yakima: Good or bad?

More chain restaurants on the way to Yakima: Good or bad? »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- We saw lines around the corner when Carl's Junior opened here in Yakima.

Now, the franchise owner tells Action News he plans to open two more locations.

Other chains like Jimmy John's and Panda Express also recently opened their doors.

"It does take an impact on us in the beginning, but then we get our core back," said Kathi Bonlender, who owns the Sub Shops of Yakima.

For nearly two decades, Kathi's shops were the only ones around.
Then two sandwich chains opened just steps away. She says they hurt at first, but now she enjoys the competition.

"Would I rather be the only person? I don't think so," Kathi said.

Competition or not, the chains could translate into more money for Yakima.

"I hope they're here for the long run and it's an added value to the community and the private market will decide who survives, who succeeds," said Yakima City Manager, Tony O'Rourke.

The city says any new business is good for sales tax revenue. but restaurants can be tricky because they come and go so often. For example, the old Wendy's took off and a new Carl's Jr. replaced it.

I pulled the numbers on Yakima's sales tax revenue.

Starting in 2003, the city took in around $11 million a year.
That number peaked in 2008 at nearly $14 million but dropped to $12.5 million the following year.

The numbers have slowly recovered and are up 5 percent so far this year compared to the same time last year.

Cindy Epperson is Yakima's Financial Director. She says it doesn't matter if it's a chain, the city still takes in the tax revenue.

"Basically the sales tax depends on where the consumer ultimately wants to spend their dollar," Cindy said.

It's what motivates Kathi to keep to her customers happy.

"That's what I'm gonna do and I'm not gonna worry about them. Maybe they have to worry about me, I don't know," Kathi said.