Friday, July 27, 2007

Montrose and Tender Treasures

As many of you know, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding the changing of ownership of many of the older buildings in our fair city of Montrose, California. Having been founded by a series of developers and property owners who were approaching their latter senior years, many of them decided to sell the buildings at the peak of the real estate frenzy last year. My own landlord, a wonderful man named Steve Jeffers was one of them. Steve is one of the finest people I have ever met in my life. For most of the 19 years that I was a tenant of his, I didn't even have a lease because I knew that he would be more than fair in any situation. . Last year, he sold the building where Tender Treasures has been located for a nice sum, and I can't be happier for his good fortunes.

For many businesses in Montrose, the change of ownership has included raising rents. The long time ownership of the buildings insured that the rents remained incredibly affordable. Most of the older landlords were more interested in having good tenants that paid the rent on time. Now, with rising tax basis, and property values we see rising rents and lots of tenants who are facing the prospect of coming up with a lot more money every month for rent....or as I like to look at it....facing the prospect of taking home a lot less draw every month. There are leasing agents that need their piece of the pie as well, so all in all the small business owners who were able to make a decent living on their businesses find themselves in the un-enviable position of having to share a bigger portion with landlords and agents.

As one could imagine, this has touched off a firestorm of criticism from each side. A local leasing agent made an degrading remark about the merchants who were complaining about rent increases, and then merchants rose up in response. Caught in the firestorm of the mud-slinging is Montrose, the little city that I call "unreconstructed from the 50's." Its a jewel of a shopping district, nestled foothills of the San Gabriel Valley, with a winding "I brake for Squirrels" main street, and lots of shops that are owned and operated by local folk. Its a great alternative to the mall shopping, or the newer "Multi Use" developments. Its just down home.

Yesterday, I asked my employees to make a list of all the things that they liked about Montrose, and why anyone should come to Montrose to shop rather than the malls. It didn't take more than an hour for them to come up with over twenty different reasons! We had a grand time making signs for our window publicizing all of this. So...if you are here in the area..please come shop in Montrose. You will enjoy the experience, I assure you. If you do, please check out our window where the "bucketheads" are holding up their signage protesting change in Montrose.