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Business/Economy

  • LA MainStreet earns top accreditation

    Los Alamos MainStreet was one of seven MainStreet communities in the state designated as National Main Street Accredited Communities for meeting commercial district revitalization performance standards.
    The announcement was made Friday by the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
    “These high-performing New Mexico MainStreet communities are very much deserving of national accreditation for all their work in revitalizing our historic areas of commerce,” said New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela in a statement announcing the accreditation. “New Mexico MainStreet communities continue to make New Mexico an exceptional place to live and work.”
    The organizations’ performances are evaluated on an annual basis by New Mexico MainStreet, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards.
    Evaluation criteria, according to the state’s development department, determines the communities that are building “comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts” and are “fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.”

  • LAVA fund helps spur energy bars

    Taos Mountain Energy Bar has had the kind of success story they make movies about.
    The storyline centers around two childhood friends and ski enthusiasts, Brooks Thostenson and Kyle Hawari, who started out testing natural energy bars in their kitchen and within four years have landed product in major retail chains across the country.
    “Essentially, we moved out here to ski. That’s what we love to do,” Hawari said. “We were just two kids working a couple of odd jobs, really enjoying the outdoors, and wanted a low-cost, healthy, sustaining, but — most importantly — tasty snack food that we could take up on the lift with us and would sustain us through the day.”
    The pair ran across an article on Taos County Economic Development Corporation’s Taos Food Center, which provides commercial kitchen space for small business entrepreneurs as well as specialized training, product development, pH testing, regulatory assistance with FDA requirements, business development and cooperative marketing assistance.
    Thostenson and Hawari had always talked about starting a business together, and reading about the Taos Food Center meshed with their own desire for natural, healthy snacks.

  • Businesss Spotlight: Pups go to play at new LA Dog House

    Need a place to pamper your pooch? Or a space to let them frolic and play? The LA Dog House is available for your four-legged pal.
    Fresh off the opening on March 6, owner Ruth Scott, along with a few volunteers have bonded with some clients and their dogs. The LA Dog House has an indoor area that is leash-free and interactive.
    Scott said she only accepts non-aggressive canines and it is required that the dogs get along with other pups.
    Every week, Scott takes one of the dogs from the Los Alamos Animal Shelter and gives them a day of fun. “The group friendly dogs are brought here from the shelter once or twice a week,” Scott said.
    “Iggy” was the chosen dog of the week. Scott credits the shelter for their participation.
    “They work so hard to find homes for the homeless animals,” she said. She also thanks the Friends of the Shelter for its support.
    The volunteers have all been longtime residents of Los Alamos and have known Scott for a number of years.
    Bill Ferrell often brings along his dog, Ladybug. Katherine Lea met Scott through networking around town and have been friends for many years.
    There are plenty of services to choose from. Services include dog day care, training classes, bathing and pet sitting.

  • Stocks finish up for 9th straight quarter

    NEW YORK (AP) — The bull market slowed to a trot but didn’t stop this winter.
    Stocks have been buffeted since the start of the year by plunging oil prices, a surging dollar and worries about the timing of a potential rate increase by the Federal Reserve. None of that has been enough to keep the market from logging a small gain in the first three months of the year. It is the ninth straight quarter that the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen. The index has only had three other stretches that long since World War II.
    That’s good news for bulls because the previous three times the market notched a nine-quarter winning streak, the S&P 500 index averaged an increase of 8.1 percent in the 10th quarter.
    During the latest quarter, the index climbed 0.4 percent. The gain follows an 11 percent jump in 2014 and a 30 percent surge in 2013.
    The three-month stretch also included some big milestones.
    The bull market in stocks turned six in early March. The S&P 500 index has more than tripled since bottoming out at 676.53 on March 9, 2009.

  • Del Norte makes WR land buy

    Del Norte Credit Union has purchased land to build a new branch in White Rock, officials announced last week.
    The new White Rock branch will be located on the vacant southeast corner of Rover Boulevard and N.M. 4, directly across the road from where a leased branch currently resides. DNCU will announce groundbreaking plans for the new facility soon, although officials said they anticipated the build start date to be in late summer of this year.
    Plans are for a 2,500-square-foot, full-service branch with three teller stations, two drive-thru lanes, an ATM, night deposit drop box service and lending offices.
    Along with all DNCU branches, the new White Rock branch will be a member of the co-op shared branching network and will welcome the business of other credit union members and travellers.
    “We are excited and proud to strengthen our presence in White Rock,” says DNCU CEO/President Chuck Valenti in a press release announcing the purchase. “The building of our own branch reinforces our commitment to the area, which dates back to the formation of the original credit union in 1954.”
    Del Norte’s original charter dates back to the mid 1950s. DNCU serves more than 40,000 members in the state.

  • Classic Air Medical is off the ground

    A cerermonial ribbon-cutting was held at noon today for Classic Air Medical, which will offer medical airlift service for Los Alamos County. Onlookers saw the helicopter and its interior at the ceremony.

  • Local economy is topic at breakfast

    The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce will host a business breakfast Thursday to discuss potential economic development issues within the county.
    The breakfast will feature a panel discussion on the outlook for businesses. It’s scheduled for 7:30 a.m. at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, room 230.
    The panel will include Patrick Sullivan, the executive director of the LACDC, Eric Vasquez, Regional Economic Development Imitative manager for the Regional Development Corporation and Jeffrey Mitchell, UNM’s director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
    Mitchell has been with UNM’s economic research bureau since 2003. His work with the bureau has consisted of economic planning, statistical analysis and strategy development.
    Vasquez works with communities through Northern New Mexico through REDI, focusing on long-term planning for the region.
    Sullivan was named the LACDC director in 2014, taking over for Scott Randall.
    Tickets are $15. Those interested in attending can register on the events page of the Chamber of Commerce website losalamoschamber.com/events.
    For more information on the chamber breakfast, call 661-4816 or email Nancy Partridge of the LACDC at nancy@losalamos.org.

  • LA native opens third branch of Xynergy

    Xynergy, Inc., one of New Mexico’s leading web design and online marketing firm, has expanded with the opening of a third location in Taos.
    Xynergy, which already has offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
    The Taos location opened in mid-February. It is located at ​201 Camino de la Merced, Suite C1 — in the same Internet and media hub as Brownrice Hosting and TaosNet.
    Xynergy, Inc. was founded in 1994 by Jennifer Martin, president, who is a 1988 graduate of Los Alamos High school. From 2006-2009 Xynergy built the Intranet for Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “Taos is a beautiful and culturally robust community.  I am so pleased to have two highly skilled Taoseños join our team and I am looking forward to working with more local talent as we grow,” Martin said.
    The move coincides with the restructuring of long-time Taos design and marketing firm, Webb Design, Inc. 
    Martin grew up in Los Alamos and has experience developing multi-media projects during and after college, specifically in CD-ROM and gaming industries. The business covers website development and digital marketing.
    She first established the business in the early 1990s.

  • Lottery for 2015 turkey hunt open

    The Valles Caldera Trust will hold a lottery for the chance for sportsmen to hunt Merriam turkeys on Valles Caldera National Preserve land.
    Those wanting to enter the lottery may do so until March 31.
    The 2015 turkey hunt will be the ninth such hunt on VCNP land since it was established in 2000.
    Eight hunt authorizations will be issued for the two hunts, which are scheduled for May 2-4 and May 8-10. Each applicant will be limited to one ticket per hunt, but may apply for both hunts.
    Lottery chances can be purchased for $10 each online through the VCNP website. All funds generated will be used for VCNP management, for activities such as habit restoration and the increase of recreational access.
    Those interested in the turkey hunt must also acquire proper licenses to do so from the state’s Department of Game and Fish.
    Lottery winners will be notified by email or they may visit the VCNP website on April 3.
    For more information, call 1-866-382-5537 or visit vallescaldera.gov.

  • Hiring strong, unemployment down in February

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A burst of hiring in February underscored the resilience and confidence of U.S. businesses, which are adding workers at the fastest pace in 17 years. Yet the strong job gains did little to raise wages last month.
    The unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent, the government said Friday. But the rate declined mainly because some people out of work stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed.
    The average hourly wage rose just 3 cents to $24.78 an hour. Average hourly pay has now risen just 2 percent over the past 12 months, barely ahead of inflation.
    Still, over that time, 3.3 million more Americans have gotten jobs. More jobs and lower gas prices have led many consumers to step up spending. That’s boosting the economy, offsetting sluggish growth overseas and giving employers the confidence to hire.
    Most economists have forecast that the economy will grow about 3 percent this year, supporting about 250,000 job gains a month. Those increases should raise pay this year, they say.