Shabby isn’t chic

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Attractive storefronts can translate into money in the pockets of local business owners

By Carol A. Clark

Not many people are drawn to shop or dine in a run down establishment. And those who are may not be the clientele business owners hope to cater to.


Local business owners attended a workshop Thursday morning at UNM-LA that stressed the importance of well-maintained storefronts.

Next to location, curb appeal is cited as the number two factor for generating first time sales at businesses and restaurants, according to New Mexico MainStreet, the organization that headlined the workshop.

Architect William Powell from New Mexico MainStreet focused on the ins and outs of curb appeal. The first impression of a business based upon its curb appeal can have a huge effect on attracting and retaining customer traffic into that business, he said. Powell spoke about the effectiveness of proper signage and that curb appeal also contributes significantly to the overall impression of the community.

A downtown commercial district is the most visible indicator of a community’s economic and social health and can either be an asset or a liability in efforts to recruit new residents, new businesses, industry and tourism to a community.

The Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation through its MainStreet program, works toward the revitalization of the Los Alamos downtown commercial district.

Los Alamos MainStreet Manager Suzette Fox complimented both Powell and New Mexico Urban Planner Charlie Deans who also spoke at Thursday’s workshop.

“They were very informative and spoke about the relevant aspects of curb appeal. If a business owner has difficulty choosing a paint color, for example, they can go to Finishing Touch here in Los Alamos for

advice,” Fox said. “Charlie Deans’ talk focused on storefront landscaping and addressed details such as container gardening sizes and the various types of containers best suited for storefront appeal.”

The workshop brought out practical tips and ideas for cost effective ways to easily improve a businesses’ curb appeal. Participants were invited to sign up for an optional one-hour private consultation at their individual businesses with Powell and Deans at no charge.

This workshop also addressed the process for obtaining up to $500 in Los Alamos MainStreet matching grant funding for downtown curb appeal projects.

MainStreet programs and events target enhancing the image of downtown, building public awareness of the downtown as a destination and attracting people to socialize, shop and enjoy local restaurants, history and culture.  

For information, access the Small Business Development Center at www.nmsbdc.org or Heather Campbell at heather@losalamos.org or call 661-4803.