Sunday, April 23, 2006
Cutting the red ribbon
It is always a pleasure to attend the grand opening of a new or expanding business – even more so as Mayor when I get to help the business owner with the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. There is such excitement and optimism about the new venture. Friday night I was at the opening of Natural Expressions at 18 N. Santa Cruz Ave. with owners MEGAN ERK and CICEK HERRERA, and Chamber leaders PATTI RICE, BRENDA HAMMOND and PHIL JOHNSON. Afterwards my husband and I strolled the avenue and talked about how many kinds of businesses there need to be in a community to provide the goods and services we need for our personal and business lives. Years ago I did a work project for the City of Alameda where the residents constantly refer to the fact that they live on an island. Their priority was making sure that almost everything they could need or want was available without crossing a bridge or navigating an underwater tunnel. Ever since then I’ve thought about what types of businesses we are missing in Los Gatos that we would need to be a true “full service” town. Someday it would be interesting to see the results of a sales tax leakage to find out how much of our money is being spent in neighboring communities, and if it is because our residents can’t buy everything they need close to home. At Saturday morning’s annual Council-Commission retreat [where we meet with representatives of our Commissions to get face-to-face updates on their achievements and goals for the coming year] JACQUI KEMP, chair of the Youth Commission, told us about a quick survey they did asking Youth Commissioners where they shop. Many take their dollars out of town because we don’t have the products, brands, or price points they prefer. More research on the buying power of Los Gatos teens would be valuable information for current businesses who may be overlooking a profitable market segment, and for property owners and commercial real estate brokers as they recruit new businesses for our neighborhood shopping centers and downtown.