It is with mixed emotions that I write this Mayor’s Report. As you may have heard Chase Hardware will be closing within the next couple of months. Rich Alberti has been operating Chase since 1978. He has sold the property and is starting the next chapter of his life. In talking with Rich he told me, with a forlorn look, that "It is time.” He is turning 65 and he wants to do things that he has always wanted to do, but has never had the time. It is not easy to close a business especially one that is so well respected in the community.
For Rich, it is time to retire. He has plans to get married, do some traveling and just plain take it easy. This is a very tough decision, which he has toiled over, but he knows in his own mind that this is the right decision. We discussed how times have changed over the years and how difficult it is for a brick and mortar business to flourish in this struggling economy. His first desire was that someone who wanted to continue in the hardware business would buy Chase. He searched for a year for someone who could succeed him in a similar business but his efforts came up empty.
It is interesting to hear him speak of how a customer will come in and say they had just been at a Lowe's or Home Depot and that store did not have the part they needed. They proceed to say how they knew Chase would have the part and this somehow was supposed to be a compliment. Unfortunately, this is not what a businessperson wants to hear as it emphasizes how much modern day business has changed. Today’s businesses have to compete not only with the big box stores but also with the Internet and Amazon. He pointed to the Lowe's store on Twelfth Street which really had an impact on his sales. He also commented on how it is not unusual for a customer to come in and check prices on their smart phone.
Reminiscing on the past, Rich reflected about how his sales have been flat over the last five years while his expenses have increased over that same period. He also talked about the many friends he made in Los Ranchos and how much he appreciated the support of the community.
He spoke on how several of his employees have been with him for 25 years. He anticipates being totally closed by the end of April when the new buyers will be taking over. Chase Hardware, Rich Alberti and his loyal employees, Charlie and Sandy, will be sadly missed. We wish them well and hope the next chapter in their lives is rewarding and full of happiness. The entire Chase family has earned a little time off. We want them to know that they will always hold a special place in our hearts and our Village. We want to wish Rich the best of luck in his next adventure and thank him for playing such a vital role in the history of Los Ranchos.
On another note, we would like to welcome Weck’s to the Village. Weck’s recently opened in the old JB’s location at 6621 Fourth Street. We are looking forward to their success and enjoying a fine meal at our newest restaurant. We would also like to welcome Mark Abramson. He is the new owner of the Los Ranchos Gun Shop at 6542 Fourth Street. He purchased the business at the first of the year and we wish him well and are pleased that he has chosen to remain in Los Ranchos.
- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor