• Central Avenue construction

    Even though there’s a lot of construction going on at Central Avenue, local businesses are doing all they can to remind residents they are open, as the banner on CB Fox’ front window demonstrates.

  • Smith’s start is a strong one

    The ribbon cutting for the new Smith’s Marketplace Wednesday was relatively quiet, at least compared to what followed.
    Within an hour of opening, the parking lot was starting to fill up and by lunchtime it was packed.
    Reports kept coming back to Los Alamos Monitor — at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 11 p.m. — it was still packed.
    The trend continued Thursday and Friday and shows no sign of letting up any time soon.
    “I can’t release sales information, but I can tell you that both yesterday and today (Wednesday and Thursday) we exceeded anything we thought was possible at this store,” manager Erik Boehm said. “So it will be an impressive store when it’s all said and done.”
    Boehm was able to provide some figures about the number of transactions. The store racked up 8,900 transactions the first day from an estimated 14,000 people. Day two saw 7,000 transactions from approximately 12,000 customers.
    “So we probably put 26,000 people through the store in the last two days,” Boehm said.
    That estimate may even be a little low, considering the number of people who just came in to check out the store without making a purchase.

  • Microsoft announces 18K layoffs

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history Thursday, saying it will cut 18,000 jobs as it streamlines its Nokia mobile device business to focus on using the Windows Phone operating system.
    Although the job cuts were expected, the extent of the eliminations is a surprise, amounting to 14 percent of the company’s workforce.
    It’s CEO Satya Nadella’s boldest move since taking the reins from Steve Ballmer in February. Ballmer announced the Nokia acquisition last September, a month after he announced that he would resign.
    In a public email to employees Thursday, Nadella said the changes were needed for the company to “become more agile and move faster.”
    Nadella indicated that Microsoft will largely abandon low-price Nokia Asha phones — which work on their own non-Windows operating system — and reverse a strategically questionable move by Nokia in February to launch a line of phones called “X’’ that supported rival Google Inc.’s Android platform.

  • Surprises abound in new store

    Smith’s Food & Drug President Jay Cummins summed up the general euphoria with the new Smith’s Marketplace on Tuesday.
    “I can’t wait for our customers to walk in here tomorrow, because I don’t think they know − no pun intended − what’s in store,” Cummins said. “This is definitely one-of-a-kind in the Smith’s division, and I’d be willing to bet one-of-a-kind in the 2,600 Kroger stores that are across the country. It’s a spectacular store.”
    Smith’s is a division of the Kroger Co.
    Although Smith’s has six Marketplace stores in Utah, the Los Alamos store is a new prototype and one that promises to outstrip even those that follow in its wake.
    The Los Alamos Marketplace has several unique features: a wine bar serving wine and beer by the glass, made-to-order sandwiches, pizza, salads and other prepared foods and a patio offering wine and beer service as well as canyon views.
    The store is filled with little surprises.
    The climate-controlled wine cellar offers a touch of elegance as well as a distinctive assortment of wines and a cigar humidor.
    A demo grill in the fresh meat and seafood department allows associates to prepare samples for customers. That department offers specialty items such as house-prepared sausages.

  • 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.