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Our local economy is 97 percent LANL-related. While an amazing statistic, it’s certainly not surprising, and it makes achieving a more economically self-sufficient community a very tall order. Increasing retail opportunities and improving our economic diversity requires new investment, both private and public.
Let’s begin with the private investment problem. Since most of us stayed in school much longer than most and chose to work in the private sector, let’s assume risk aversion is a given. Therefore, we’ll look at a private investment scenario in which you can invest in a retail opportunity in one of two locations.
Opportunity A, in a city of more than 200,000, is in a new strip development containing a Wal-Mart and several chain businesses. The mall serves not only the growing neighborhoods nearby, but also traffic from the freeway. Its advantages are many, including a brand new building on cheap land with lots of guaranteed customers. Its risks are few.
Opportunity B is in a smaller town of 20,000, located on an island a short ferry ride from Opportunity A. Most residents work in commercial fishing, the island’s only industry, but the industry pays well and the residents are by no means poor. The islanders are a captive audience, who have cash and who crave retail opportunities.
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