Helping small business is the main issue for Los Alamos County Council candidate Patrick Brenner.
“The small businesses in Los Alamos are certainly in trouble. We’ve seen that and we continue to see that. We no longer have a Laundromat. We no longer have a flower shop…It’s not new news. Most of the small business owners I’ve spoken with are in trouble,” Brenner said.
Brenner himself owns a small business, EDJ ink. He admits he is not entirely certain why so many businesses are struggling, but believes that two major factors are rental rates and the county’s policies towards small business.
“As far as rental rates go, if the lab (Los Alamos National Laboratory – LANL) comes to the downtown area, the landlords charge the lab whatever they want because it’s government money and nobody cares, except for the landowners. The landowners know that they can get away with charging the lab whatever they can,” Brenner said. “And I’m not saying that’s bad. That’s a smart business practice for those landowners. If I were in their position, I’d do the same thing: maximize my profit per square foot.”
Brenner believes that council should reevaluate zoning that allows LANL to rent downtown, especially on ground floors.