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Business/Economy

  • UFCW files grievance for unfair labor practices against Smith's

    On June 13, the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1564 filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) for unfair labor practices against Smith’s Food & Drug Centers Inc.
    UFCW Local 1564 represents approximately 2,000 Smith’s employees throughout New Mexico in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Socorro, Grants, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Taos.
    According to the grievance, Smith’s and the union were scheduled to meet on consecutive days between June 2−7, in an effort to reach agreement before contracts for the meat department and retail expired June 7.
    The grievance reads: “Smith’s engaged in surface bargaining and consistently refused to engage in economic negotiations. On June 4, 2014, Smith’s abruptly terminated negotiations and suspended all bargaining.”
    At the time the grievance was filed, Smith’s had not responded to the union’s request to schedule additional dates for negotiations, although the company has since proposed one date, Wednesday, which the union has agreed to.
    Smith’s is also insisting on bringing in a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) negotiator.
    Marsha Gilford, vice president of public affairs at Smith’s Food & Drug, explained the company’s position.

  • Business Spotlight: Nu 2 U Consignments has a little bit of everything

    Los Alamos now has a shop where residents can sell their wares and buy gifts.
    Nu 2 U Consignments opened May 3 and has already experienced business growth.
    The shop started out with 15 local vendors in May and has since ballooned to 45 vendors and 20 on a waiting list.
    “Over the years, we’ve heard how hard it is to start a small business in Los Alamos,” said owner Keith Lindsay. “So far (the response) has been great with customers and vendors.”
    “People have come in and thanked us, this place is long overdue,” said co-owner Barbara Lindsay. “The shop has a little bit of everything. People go nuts for used clothes.”
    The shop is located at 1460 Trinity Dr., the space where Zia Realty was located. There are several rooms and square footage for rent. People can rent rack space, shelves and cases by the square foot. The cost varies depending on the space for rent.
    Floor space is listed in three tiers. For 100 sq. ft. or more, cost is $2 per sq. ft. a month. For floor space 50-99 sq. ft., cost is $3 per sq. ft. per a month and less than 50 sq. ft. is $4 per sq. ft. a month.

  • Fun for all at Chamberfest
  • Pajarito Brewpub owners make bid for golf course restaurant

    If all goes well at the June 27 Los Alamos County Council meeting, Los Alamos residents could be dining out at the new golf course community building later this year.
    Staff is recommending that council approve Pajarito Golf Group LLC’s bid to operate the restaurant. PGG is comprised of Patrick Mockler-Wood, Catherine Mockler and Dorota and Pawel Listwan, co-owners of the Pajarito Brew Pub & Grill.
    According to Mockler-Wood, the restaurant PGG is proposing will be completely different than the Brewpub.
    “This location is going to be more of a sister business, not a second brewpub,” Mockler-Wood said. “It’s going to be a very different menu.”
    The RFP requires PGG to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer a grab-and-go menu for golfers and banquet service.
    Breakfast will be served five to seven days a week, depending on demand. Mockler-Wood believes PGG will follow the mechanism they used with the Brewpub, serving daily until they can determine where that demand is and set their hours accordingly.
    One highlight for breakfast (and all day) will be Seattle’s Best Coffee. The restaurant will offer everything a full franchise offers, but will technically be an “outlet” rather than a “franchise,” since franchises cannot be combined with other businesses.

  • Chamber looks at minimum wage

    Los Alamos business owners are divided on raising the minimum wage, according to a member survey conducted by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.
    Nearly 43 percent of the 45 chamber members who responded said there are undecided on increasing the minimum wage. About 33 percent of respondents said they support an increase while 24 percent say they don’t.
    The survey, which was discussed during a chamber breakfast Thursday, included discussions on other issues such as creating a health insurance pool, creating a local job board and the lack of awareness of the chamber’s crowd-funding venue, Main Street Crowd.
    Most of Thursday’s discussion focused on the minimum wage.
    Those who attended the breakfast said they all pay higher than minimum wage.
    Scott Randall, executive director of the Las Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, said the chamber pays a minimum of $9.50 an hour, although the visitor centers also benefits from 3,500 hours a year of volunteer work.
    “We found the need to establish a significantly higher minimum wage even for our student employees, just to get them interested and considering the job,” Randall said. “We heard that from everyone, particularly in the service industries. They’re paying a significantly higher wage to get people to come up the hill.”

  • Rosebud ribbon cutting

    Rosebud Café opened a new location in White Rock in October. The Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday. Owner Lana Crochet cut the ribbon, along with building owner Roger Waterman and two of her children Sal, left, and Silas. Bread and pastries are made onsite, while 95 percent of the products come from the Los Alamos Co-op Market. The café is equipped with a tea room, children’s play area and two massage therapists, Theresa Wald and Erin Hemphill. The Quemazon Brass Quartet (Phil Jones, Stan Brown, Bruce Letellier and Peter McLachlan) provided entertainment during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

  • Gulas named CEO of Los Alamos National Bank

    John S. Gulas was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Los Alamos National Bank Thursday and President and CEO of Trinity Capital Corporation.
    Gulas was also appointed as a member of the Boards of Directors of LANB and TCC and has more than 26 years of banking and financial services experience.
    “LANB’s staff and Board of Directors are pleased to welcome John to our team. His achievements in community banking are outstanding and I’m excited about the opportunities created by the combination of his leadership and our strong team,” said Jerry Kindsfather, Chairman of the Boards of Directors of TCC and LANB.
    LANB President, Steve Wells said, “John is a proven community banker and I look forward to working with him to create further success at LANB.”
    Prior to joining LANB and TCC, Gulas was president and chief executive officer of Farmers National Banc Corporation, a position he held since July 2010. Gulas was recognized by the American Bankers Association for leading Farmers to national acclaim as one of the top community banks in the country, and under Gulas’ management in 2012 and 2013 Farmers was named by Bank Director Magazine as one of the best banks with $1 billion to $5 billion in assets.

  • Game On

    Things are quickly getting into shape at the new Time Out Pizzeria location on Central Avenue, right next to the Bradbury Science Museum. Like its location in White Rock, the new Time Out will have an arcade game room. The pizzeria is set to open in the very near future.

  • Smith's preps for opening in July

    Smith’s Marketplace is gearing up for its grand opening on July 16. Construction is in full swing, freezers and registers arrived Tuesday and the push to hire 140 new employees is on.
    “We’re just in the process of thinking through what would be fun and meaningful store opening activities” said Marsha Gilford, vice president of public affairs for Smith’s Food & Drug Stores. “We want it to be a great experience and involve a good portion of the community, because this has been a process and a result that the whole community has been looking forward to.”
    The new 110,000-foot venue requires more than double the current workforce of 130, and the nature of the marketplace creates openings for a wider range of expertise.
    In addition to cashiers and grocery clerks, Smith’s/Kroger’s is looking for people with retail experience in apparel and home goods, chefs for their expanded prepared foods department and experts in liquors and wines.
    “Mostly we’re looking for people who are friendly and helpful,” Gilford said. “The qualification is they need to enjoy working with people, enjoy serving customers.”

  • Smith's gains recognition

    Smith’s Food & Drug store at 31 Sherwood Blvd in White Rock has earned the “Energy Star” designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, according to a press release.
    Commercial buildings that earn the “Energy Star” label rate in the top 25 percent of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency and performance. In addition, 111 more Smith’s stores have made application to qualify for the designation in 2014.
    Smith’s has reduced its average electricity usage by 34.5 percent since 2000, which equates to enough electricity to power 45 average sized Smith’s stores for one year. That energy savings has kept approximately 65,500 metric ton (equivalent) of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.