Originally Published: September 26, 2013 6 a.m.
Representatives from three Prescott-area businesses expressed mixed views over whether the economy has improved for them over the past year.
"We have seen an increase in sales over the past year," said Mike Dailey, president of Prescott Aerospace, a Prescott Valley-based company that makes components for airplanes and helicopters. "Sales are probably up 20 percent.'
However, Dailey, who founded the company in 1983, said prices for materials have risen sharply over the past four to five months, climbing anywhere from 16 to 82 percent.
Casting materials increased 82 percent, Dailey said.
"Nobody will really explain why" materials have gone up in price, he said. He added it is too early to determine whether increasing sales will offset higher prices for materials.
"A lot of times it takes four to six months to get paid for a project," Dailey said. Prescott Aerospace peaked at 49 employees in 2008 and has 31 now.
During its peak, The Plumbing Store in Prescott had nine or 10 employees, including management, manager Kim Gagnon said. It has four employees now, and has tried for some time to fill an opening for a plumber.
"It has been a tough year," Gagnon said. "This year was probably not as good" in terms of sales and service.
She indicated that she does not know why business is slower but speculated customers "are holding off a little bit" on purchases.
However, Gagnon said business has picked up over the past three months, which is typically the busiest time of the year.
The Plumbing Store is focused primarily on service now, Gagnon said, adding a "crew of guys" worked on construction projects during the peak before the Great Recession.
Business is picking up for Tom Conner, an associate broker specializing in commercial real estate at Red Arrow Real Estate in Prescott.
Conner, who has worked in commercial real estate for seven years - entirely at Red Arrow - said property sales, in addition to leasing, are increasing.
"It has gone from almost zero to a decent number," Conner said, referring to sales. "I would say there is 100 percent more sales than a year ago."
Conner said commercial real estate generally follows residential trends, adding, "there has been a significant increase in residential. People are not sitting on the fence like they were before. They are opening their wallets to make real estate investments to include the commercial properties."