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Hundreds of people were on hand for the grand opening of Smith’s this morning.
Los Alamos resident Paula Olson was the first shopper in line, arriving at 6:30 a.m.
“It’s a beautiful store. A little chaotic at the moment,” Olson said. “I hope it goes well, I hope that everybody likes it, and I hope they keep the prices low. Because big stores get big heads.”
Olson especially loved the counter full of artisan breads and the selection in the housewares department.
In general, people were amazed at the size of the store and excited to see it open.
A resident who has lived here 40-plus years said, “I’m excited, but I can’t imagine putting something like this is a town like this. The town’s too small? Why are they doing it? They say it takes two hours just to get around the store.”
“I’m excited to be able to buy a bath towel in the county,” said one shopper who preferred to remain anonymous. “A bath towel and a lamp and car seats in the county.”
“My kids are very excited about the new store. They’ve been running around saying, ‘Look at this. Look at this,’” said resident Julia Baker. “They’re very excited that there are going to be toys and clothes, and we can get shoes here. So we’re excited to not go off the hill.
Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Rio Arriba) was one of many dignitaries on hand for the ribbon cutting.
“I think this is a great thing for our community,” Garcia Richard said. “And I hope it will stop some of the leakage down the Hill.”
One of the goals in developing the Marketplace is to stop that leakage. Eighty-nine percent of the money earned in the county is currently spent elsewhere.
“This is great for our visitors,” said Bandelier National Park Superintendent Jason Lott.
“I think it’s wonderful. It’s been a long, hard slog, but it’s good to see the progress. We still need to work on White Rock, but for the community it will be really nice,” said Ken Milder, who is running for county assessor.
Milder is also curious to see the impact the store will have on other businesses in town.
At pre-opening ceremonies, a special thanks went out Acting County Engineer Bryan Aragon, whose crews worked diligently Tuesday to get Trinity Drive opened. “We have some amazing people that really stepped up. I was really impressed. I can’t brag enough about the guys we have on our crews,” Aragon said. “We pushed the importance of the store to them, and it worked out for the best. It was awesome.”