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Business/Economy

  • Finally!

    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.”

  • Less than 24 hours away

    Smith’s Marketplace, on the Trinity Site in Los Alamos opens Wednesday. It is the first Smith’s Marketplace store to be built in New Mexico and will replace the existing Smith’s combination food and drug store in the Merrimac Shopping Center on Central Avenue. Ribbon cutting ceremonies will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the doors will open at 8 a.m.

  • Smith’s set to open Wednesday

    New Mexico’s first Smith’s Marketplace is scheduled to open Wednesday in Los Alamos.
    Festivities begin at 7:30 a.m., with music and children’s activities such as face painting and balloon animals. The ribbon cutting ceremony is at 7:45 a.m. and doors will open by 8 a.m.
    “This is the culmination of so much planning and work from the community’s standpoint, certainly from our store development standpoint, and it’s just so rewarding to be able to open the store finally, to be able to serve our Los Alamos customers,” said Marsha Gilford, vice president of public affairs at Smith’s Food & Drug. Smith’s is a division of the Kroger Co.
    The first 300 people at the store will receive coupons for breakfast items. Smith’s will also hold three raffles throughout the day for iPad giveaways.
    Activities will continue all day, with a mariachi band and a DJ onsite from noon to 6 p.m. There will be food sampling throughout the store, in particular at the Murray’s Cheese Shop and the deli.
    Murray’s Cheese, the oldest cheese shop in New York City, offers a selection of specialty items, including crackers, dried fruit and an olive and antipasto bar. Murray’s is also opening a grilled cheese counter.

  • Firefighter injured in Jemez

    LA CUEVA (AP) — Authorities say a firefighter from California who was helping with fire prevention and other duties on the Santa Fe National Forest has been injured.
    The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department says the firefighter either kicked or stepped on something that exploded Monday near an intersection east of Fenton Lake State Park.
    Federal authorities are now investigating.
    Santa Fe forest spokeswoman Donna Nemeth says the firefighter’s injuries are non-life-threatening and he’s reported to be in good spirits.
    The firefighter’s name was not immediately released. The employee is stationed on the Six Rivers National Forest in California but was assigned to northern New Mexico’s Jemez Ranger District to help since fire danger has been high.
    Over the weekend, Santa Fe forest personnel responded to 14 small lightning-sparked fires and one abandoned campfire.
     

  • 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.