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Business/Economy

  • 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.
     

  • McDonald's coming to Pojoaque

    The Pueblo of Pojoaque broke ground on a new McDonald’s Restaurant this week. The groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday with construction expected to last about 100 days. The Pueblo will lease the new land and the new eatery will open on in July/August 2014.
    Participating in breaking ground was: Mark Cordova, Managing Member of Cordova Contracting and Developments LLC; Timothy Vigil, Director of Special Projects, Pueblo of Pojoaque; Stephanie Crosby, Tribal Secretary, Pueblo of Pojoaque; George Rivera, Governor, Pueblo of Pojoaque; Julian Garza, Franchise Owner.

  • Credit card could come with benefits

    If a partnership between the Los Alamos Schools Credit Union and the Los Alamos Public Schools is successful, “charging it” could come with extra benefits.
    At a recent school board meeting, LAPS’ Chief Finance Officer John Wolfe announced to the board that the credit union is looking to start a Visa credit card that its customers could also use to make donations to the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation. The foundation supports grants, programs and scholarships relevant to the school system.
    Matt Schmidt, CEO of the credit union, was also at the meeting, seeking the board’s approval to use the “Hilltopper” logo on the card.
    “We want to feature the school district as the primary benefactor of this card,” Schmidt said. “So therefore, I’m seeking your approval of the logo,” he said to the board.
    Customers who use the credit card, which would have the famous yellow and green “Hilltopper” logo on it, would have a choice of donating 25 cents to the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation with each purchase they make.

  • Vintage jewelry leads trip down memory lane

    When entering Mrs. Beadsley’s Vintage Jewelry Store, it is like walking into a giant jewelry box. Every inch of the cozy space holds costume jewelry and items from a different time. Its major draw is for people who “love old stuff.”
    Owner Debra Lowenstein opened the shop in March at 2101 Trinity Drive, Suite G. She has lived in Los Alamos two years, having come from Santa Fe, where she had a similar costume jewelry shop, first in a kiosk at DeVargas Mall, then in the Railyard.
    She keeps a plethora of loose rhinestones, beads, clasps and pads for clip-on earrings. She has knowledge in restoration and repairs, such as necklace restringing. She said that since she has opened she has done hundreds of restrings for customers.
    “It’s a challenge to make something look as if it has always looked like that,” she said, adding that it is a way for someone to keep enjoying the jewelry for years to come.
    Lowenstein laments that today’s jewelry is not made like it used to and the quality has diminished due to machine-made pieces. “Things were made by hand back in the day and people were frugal and took great care in what they had,” Lowenstein said. “The heyday for costume jewelry spanned from the 1920s to 1960s, before the human touch was lost.”

  • Housekeepers get back-pay from LA hotel

    The National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of four housekeepers, who said they were retaliated against and fired for trying to improve working conditions at the Los Alamos Holiday Inn Express.
    The housekeepers won reinstatement and back pay this week, according to a press release from Somos Un Pueblo Unido .
    The press release said in September 2013, Rosa Sanchez, Malena Sanchez, Ramona Salaiz and Yolanda Salaiz formed a work site committee to collectively complain about a hostile work environment, favoritism by supervisors, and unequal application of disciplinary measures (including arbitrary write-ups).
    The press release said the hotel soon began a series of retaliatory actions that included: threatening committee members with termination and lawsuits; reducing hours; intimidating the workers by having a uniformed police officer at a staff meeting; and increasing surveillance by installing cameras in housekeeper areas.