From left, Kevin and Michelle Talley of Inspired Jewelers, Joanne Kozuchowski of Little Studio on the Mesa, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Jill Lang of Samizdat Bookstore gather Monday at the Los Alamos Retail Accelerator Pop-Up Shop at 174 Central Park Square. Courtesy/Chamber
In mid-November the Los Alamos Retail Accelerator program, run by the Chamber and MainStreet programs, had three entrepreneurs successfully open for business in a Retail Accelerator Pop-up Shop located at 174 Central Park Square. The Chamber and MainStreet announce the opening of a fourth business.
Wheeed, a future cannabis retailer, will opening soon in a first-floor space at 555 Oppenheimer. While actual cannabis sales are not allowed until April 2022, owner and Los Alamos native Jonathan LeDuc will operate for six weeks to sell related merchandise, such as locally sourced glass pipes, as well as branded stickers. It is anticipated that much of LeDuc’s time will be spent having conversations with potential customers and educating them about the laws and ordinances of the new cannabis industry in New Mexico.
Meanwhile, back at 174 Central Park Square, Samizdat Bookstore, Little Studio on the Mesa, and Inspired Jewelers report that they all have had a great holiday shopping season so far thanks to the tremendous support of the Los Alamos and surrounding communities.
The three businesses will remain open until the end of the year, as they test-drive their business concepts. Little Studio on the Mesa announced on Small Business Saturday that they have purchased their own brick and mortar retail storefront at 113 Longview in White Rock. Both Samizdat Bookstore and Inspired Jewelers are seeking permanent locations as well.
Pop-up Shop customers have expressed to the business owners that they are pleased to see the Chamber and MainStreet continuing to implement proactive ideas and programs to improve the retail climate. The plan is to pursue future funding to be able to run the successful Retail Accelerator program again in 2022.
The program has been so successful that it caught the attention of Governor Lujan Grisham, who recently visited the Pop-up Shops to visit with the three entrepreneurs. The Retail Accelerator program was funded in part by a New Mexico Economic Development Department LEADS grant, as well as support from New Mexico MainStreet and LANL Community Partnerships Office.
The Los Alamos Retail Accelerator is just one of many recent projects, both concluded and ongoing, that the Chamber and MainStreet have taken on in the past year:
- Highlighted Small Business Saturday & Blue Bucks Raffle Promotions. This week well over 12,000 Blue Bucks tickets were returned as part of the annual promotion that rewards community members for shopping locally by offering a chance to win cash and gift cards.
- Purchased $3,000 worth of gift cards from local businesses that participated in the Blue Bucks promotion, thanks to sponsorship from Enterprise Bank & Trust.
- Applied for and received a $22,000 T-Mobile Hometown Grant, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward supporting the community Co-Op Park development in the Los Alamos MainStreet district.
- Developed the Holiday Shopping Guide to inspire local holiday shopping.
- With the assistance of PAC8, produced a video to promote local businesses leading up to Small Business Saturday.
- Partnered with KTAOS radio to promote local businesses regionally; they broadcast live from Fuller Lodge during Small Business Saturday weekend.
- Nominated Dr. Cynthia Rooney, Chancellor of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, for the Institutional Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Rooney won this prestigious honor, which was presented in October in Tennessee.
- Continue to email pertinent and timely updates to local businesses, including grant & funding opportunities, press releases, webinars, contacts, public health orders, surveys, etc.
- Maintain list of COVID-related business resources on websites.
- Engage with revitalization specialists at New Mexico MainStreet to assist local business community for a façade project, market lease rate study, Metropolitan Redevelopment Area (MRA) in White Rock, graphic design assistance and more.
- Offer technical assistance to individual business owners related to legal advice, business transition, press releases and communication, accounting and more.
- Actively engaged in County-level strategic discussions, including the Downtown Master Plans, Development Code Updates, possible vacancy ordinance, and more.
- Actively engaged in the UNM-LA Community Internship Collaboration (CIC) program by regularly mentoring interns.
- Advocated for County-level adoption of LEDA for retail, to open up a key funding mechanism and public-private partnerships for current and new small businesses seeking to expand locally.
Curated and continue to maintain a list and map of restaurants and their respective offerings (delivery, curbside pickup etc.).
- Curated and continue to maintain a list of businesses that offer gift cards.
- Promote national, state and County initiatives to assist businesses.
- Organize and produce several community events, including the Holiday Lights Parade and WinterFest, Fair & Rodeo Parade, Los Alamos ScienceFest, Trick-or-Treat on MainStreet and Halloweekend, Tuesdays at the Pond summer entertainment series, regular Chamber Business After Hours and Business Breakfasts, ChamberFest and Small Business Saturday.
- Continue to distribute purchased masks to local businesses and organizations.
- Curate content of Los Alamos Relocation website, highlighting local resources, services, retail, restaurants and much more, to help newcomers better navigate and acclimate in the community during the pandemic and in the post-COVID world: www.DiscoverLosAlamos.com.
- Instituted a Newcomers Mixer on the first Monday of each month to welcome new residents to the community.
The Chamber and MainStreet are only two programs of the Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation (LACDC), which also encompasses projectY cowork space, Los Alamos Creative District, both Visitor Centers, the Small Business Center and Research Park. It looks forward to continuing to work in a positive and constructive manner to develop a thriving small business community.
Thank you for supporting these new businesses and all of the existing ones by shopping small and keeping dollars in Los Alamos & White Rock. Before going online to shop this holiday season, everyone is urged to consider all the special, unique gifts that can be found right here in the community. It’s these types of purchases, and a commitment to shopping local, that will keep family-owned businesses around for the long term.
Happy Holidays from the team at LACDC!
About the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce
The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation; a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, Discover Los Alamos, Los Alamos Small Business Center, projectY cowork Los Alamos and the Los Alamos Research Park.