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Los Alamos is a small town in a small county on an isolated plateau in a sparsely populated region of a sparsely populated state that most folks have either never heard of or think is a foreign country.
Los Alamos is a highly specialized single-industry economy with a dominant employer which was responsible for the founding of a town in a location that otherwise would be a lousy place to put a town. Historically, the only towns with those parameters are mining boomtowns.
And yet there are possibilites.
In the ’80s, County government made a serious effort to bring businesses to Los Alamos; an effort that, for a variety of reasons, did not really work all that well. 1) most businesses with established clientele are unlikely to pull up stakes, relocate and start all over from scratch; 2) its all about shovels; the person who makes $200,000 a year does not buy 10 times the number of shovels as the person making $20,000 a year.
There is a reason there is no sailboat dealer, Nieman Marcus, or Target. Shovels – can you sell enough of them to stay in business? 3) Ask someone, “would you like to do business in Los Alamos” the answer is more likely to be no. The parameters above pretty much would be why. It isn’t really hard to figure out that to do business in Los Alamos is a tough proposition. “Would you like to do business in Los Alamos?” is the wrong question. And yet there are possibilities.
If you ask the right question.
Los Alamos, regardless of, and because of, its limiting parameters is a Place of Opportunity. There are Possibilities for those who have the imagination to see them if they simply have to have the urge to look.
Ask, “Would you like to do business in Los Alamos?” and people will see the reasons it won’t work. But, ask them, “Would you like to live in Los Alamos?” The corollary to this is to ask the Children of Los Alamos, “Would you like to come home?” Those who answer Yes will find a way to make it work.
They will look at the realities, and find ways to adapt to the parameters making the parameters an asset to them rather than a liability.
The first thing you figure out is that there is next to no competition here, because doing business here simply for the sake of doing business makes no sense and most folks who are into business for the sake of business figure that out pretty quickly and go elsewhere. The next thing you figure out is that the current business models won’t work in Los Alamos (hence the no competition), but there is more than one way to skin a cat and there are other business models that can be adapted, or created out of whole cloth, and put into use in unique ways which work with the realities of Los Alamos rather than against them.
The next thing you figure out is that the only way to live in Los Alamos is to do business beyond the county line, thereby enhancing the economic health of Los Alamos in general.
Los Alamos is ripe with possibilities, but only those who truly want to live in Los Alamos will be willing to look for, and find or create, those possibilities. All we need do is ask, Do you want to Live in Los Alamos? And good things are likely to occur.
Heck of a lot easier than trying to transform Los Alamos into looking like Anywhere, isn’t it? Cheaper, too.