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Business/Economy

  • LA store staying in business

    Despite the woes of RadioShack, local franchisee Bill Cabral said he’s not going anywhere.
    Cabral, who has operated the local RadioShack store at its current location on Central Ave. for more than 10 years, said his store won’t be affected by the current sell-off of stores around the country.
    “We have no plans of shutting down,” Cabral said. “We have a number of companies trying to get us to buy from them. We have other resources to buy merchandise.”
    Last week, RadioShack announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and had plans to sell between 1,500 and 2,400 company-owned stores nationwide.
    That sell-off won’t necessarily affect franchisees like Cabral, however.
    As for locally, Cabral said everything should operate at near-normal capacity, although he said it was unknown how long the RadioShack designation would be sustained.
    The only problem he envisioned, he said, might be getting some of the smaller electronic components the store carries, but he’s “working on other methods of getting supplies from other suppliers.”

  • Big Anniversary

    Cheryl Sowder, left, is presented with a certificate for the 35th anniversary of the opening of The Finishing Touch, which is located at Central Park Square.

  • New spot gives kids a play area, parents a break

    There is a new place in Los Alamos where children can play and parents can take a break.
    Los Alamos Atomic Play is a new indoor playground for children 10 and under.
    Along with providing a safe recreational environment that is protected from outdoor elements, the business provides the space for private birthday, seasonal and holiday parties.
    Owner Barbara Kaldi was inspired to start an indoor playground while living in Orlando, Florida. There was a facility that had indoor bounce houses.
    After moving to Los Alamos in August 2013, she observed that there was not a place like the one she saw in Florida.
    “There was nothing like that for kids so I figured I would do it myself,” Kaldi said.
    Kaldi is the mother of two boys, Simon, 4, and 15-month-old Alexander. “They are my little helpers,” she said.
    Her husband Nicholas Marshall, works at the Los Alamos Laboratory.
    Kaldi has yet to schedule a grand opening and the business is still in its infancy, having opened at its current location — 1650 Trinity Dr. — Jan. 16.
    She has had a regular stream of customers so far.
    “It is a good place for kids to interact and something out of the routine,” Kaldi said. “The toys aren’t yours so it is fun and different.”

  • Biodidact has a scientific mission

    Prisca Tiasse won $500 at the Los Alamos Venture Accelerator’s Elevator Pitch Competition earlier this year.
    After winning the “First-Timer” award, she has continued to raise funds for her business.
    Her business, Biodidact, offers hands-on workshops that teach biotechnology concepts.
    The day after Tiasse won the award, she showed how fun it is to get creative with science with her “Extract your Own DNA” workshop at this year’s ScienceFest. Judging by the dozens of kids and parents who swarmed her booth, Tiasse had one of the most popular exhibits at the festival.
    “I was overwhelmed and very surprised at how many people were interested in my DNA extraction booth. It was non-stop,” Tiasse said. Everyone who came to her ScienceFest booth got to make a necklace with tiny vials of their own DNA.
    The activity was so popular that she gave an encore event earlier this month at the Diamond Mix Co-Work Space in the Pueblo Complex. The DNA Extraction workshops were free events to help raise money for Tiasse’s Kickstarter campaign, which will raise money for pipettes, laboratory equipment and arts and crafts equipment for students.

    A community lab for everyone

  • Unquarked wineries a perfect grouping

    Three New Mexico wineries have combined efforts to become “Unquarked.”
    The winery serves vino from Black’s Smuggler winery, Anasazi Fields and Vivác winery.
    All three wineries have the collective attitude of bringing their wineries from smaller New Mexico communities to reach out to a larger audience and expand business.
    In fall 2013, The Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation called out to wineries across the state for interest in becoming part of joint tasting rooms.
    “These wineries are from smaller, remote locations,” said Jim Fish, owner of Anasazi Fields, which operates out of Placitas. “It is an opportunity to bring wine to a larger, untapped market.”
    The owner of Unquarked is Tony Black, CEO and president of Black’s Smuggler Winery in Bosque. He said since the soft opening on Nov. 24, business has been positive and the customer base has been substantial.
    “We already have regular customers,” said Veronica Black-Stepp, manager and Black’s sister. She moved from Albuquerque in November to help with the business venture.
    In addition to a large selection of wines, Unquarked serves food catered from local businesses such as Pajarito Brewpub and Manhattan Project.

  • Shopping has been sluggish for the season

    NEW YORK (AP) — Despite an early start, sales data provided to The Associated Press show that stores may once again have to rely on procrastinators to save the holiday shopping season.
    Sales rose 1.8 percent from Nov. 1 through Monday compared with the same period a year ago, according to payment technology company First Data Corp.
    The numbers are modest considering that the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects sales for the entire season — November and December — to rise 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion.
    The slow growth also comes at a time when retailers tried to do a number of things to jumpstart the season and encourage shoppers to spend. Some offered “holiday” discounts as early as Halloween instead of waiting until the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. And more stores opened on Thanksgiving Day itself to offer people early enticements to spend.
    But the incentives seem to have backfired. Shoppers took advantage of the earlier sales and hours, but that had the effect of syphoning away sales from Black Friday, which is typically the biggest sales day of the year.

  • N.M. Airlines service returns

    The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce announced today New Mexico Airlines has resumed service between Los Alamos and Albuquerque.

    The service has not been in operation for much of the month of December.

    Operation resumed this morning and flights are scheduled for this afternoon and Tuesday. Passengers can book travel at pacificwings.com or by calling the airline's toll-free number, 888-564-6119.

  • It’s Been Awhile...

    The advertised price of gas at the Smith’s gas station in Los Alamos was under $2 a gallon Saturday morning and the station was doing brisk business. According to the American Automobile Association, gas prices are averaging $2.43 a gallon around the country, down about $.80 from a year ago.

  • Popping the Quark

    UnQuarked had its grand opening Saturday at 145 Central Park Square. The business is open from 2-9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and Sunday for private parties. Three wineries have joined together to expand outward to the community: Black’s Smuggler Winery, Anasazi Fields and Vivác. Black’s Smuggler Owner Tony Black and Anasazi Fields Owner Jim Fish cut the ribbon at Saturday’s grand opening event.

  • Trinity Capital says past losses weren’t recognized

    Los Alamos National Bank’s holding company, Trinity Capital Corporation, announced Friday it had filed its 2013 Annual Report.
    The filing, which was done with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, included financial results for both 2012 and 2013, as well as financial results for 2011, according to a press release.
    The report was filed with the SEC because, according to Trinity Capital, it had “not properly recognized certain losses and risks inherent in its loan portfolio on a timely basis.”
    Trinity Capital said it completed a review of its previous financial statements to reflect those losses.
    “We have worked diligently to correct our financial statements, as well as satisfy additional requirements from our regulators,” said Trinity’s CEO John Gulas. “Throughout 2014 we have addressed important internal issues, a process which has required considerable management attention, resulting in significant expenditures which will adversely impact 2014 results.”
    The failure to recognize those losses and risks, according to Trinity Capital, was caused by “the override of controls” of previous managers at LANB and “material weaknesses in internal control” of the bank’s financial reporting.