Friday, July 24, 2009

And another one gone, and another one gone...



So you would think a national franchise selling ice cream could at the very least survive the Summer in the People's Republic of Amherst into the Fall; and by then the students (swallows) return to Amherst (Capistrano).

But that location-- and its congenital twin (the vacant store next door)--is probably the most expensive rent in Amherst, if measured by $ per square foot. And normally I would say that labor is the #1 cost of doing business with rent #2.

But with Ben & Jerry's the actual rent was probably number one overall. And a decade ago, even McDonald's could not survive in that location (killed by Antonio's Pizza back when still owned by Bruno Matarazzo)

22 comments:

I'm outraged said...

Hey Larry,

Did you hear about this plan?

http://www.masslive.com/chicopeeholyoke/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-21/124833347242390.xml&coll=1

The town is going to GIVE AWAY this piece of land to a developer to build on.

This asset belongs to all of us, what right do they have to give it away for free to a commercial developer in this day and age?

LarryK4 said...

Oh yeah, I heard about it (the Springfield Republican is my favorite newspaper.)

More tax-exempt property bringing in low-income folks who will impact the schools at $14,000 t0 $15,000 per kid.

Jared said...

The rent downtown is crazy. Rolando's couldn't stay at $3k a month, neither could Fatzo's - both great, unique places.

The unit where Ritz was has plans on it to subdivide into two units that IMHO are so narrow you couldn't do anything there but put in a one lane bowling alley (a short one).

The defunct Via Via that now houses Papa Ginos Pronto is a bargain at $8k/month - locked in a at mere 10 years. That's a lot of pizzas.

Anonymous said...

Greed + corruption = Amherst



What a shit hole...

Anonymous said...

As a downtown Amherst landlord (who wishes to remain anonymous) I can only say that there are some building owners that try to squeeze every last penny out of their tenants. This causes high turnover and any money they gain from the high rent they charge is lost due to the frequent and prolonged vacancies.

I have always tried to work with my tenants to give them generous free build out time and reasonable rent. I know that Barry Roberts does the same. In fact, in some cases where he has art galleries in his buildings he gives them greatly reduced rent. Otherwise they could not survive.

Landlords that cause consistently empty storefronts hurt the health of the whole downtown. Ask any visitor what they think about a row of empty stores. It’s hardly a tourist attraction. And for local residents, it reduces the goods and services that are available downtown causing people to shop elsewhere thus hurting other downtown businesses.

Anonymous said...

Must have been all the rain that closed Ben And Jerry's. The rents are out of control but as long as someone keeps paying them that becomes the market value. However I think you will see a longer time to rerent these shops.

Xenos said...

Papa Gino's has closed for the summer... at $8,000 per month I wonder if they will bother to reopen. Minimum wage is up too. Oh, and I guess we will get a meals tax at some point, too.

Probably just a case of a franchisor making money on unsophisticated franchisees. I agree there is no way to make a pizza joint turn a profit with that kind of overhead.

Anonymous said...

Landlord's should also consider their property values when asking high rents. If the business is there the rents are justified. However when the revenues are not there then bussiness fail. The commercial value of the property and the resale value of the property will also fall. If you look at the history of the Mountain Mall in Hadley you will see high rents followed by high turnover followed by decay. However if you can afford to hang onto something long enought it might eventually turn around as it did with the Mountain Mall. The problem with Amherst is that the commercail reestate is controlled by a few players and there is very little pressure for pricing and these players can afford to hold onto empty spaces.

Anonymous said...

I don't know of any downtown landlords that take a percentage of your revenues as malls do. Most of the businesses that fail downtown deserve to fail. Thy are either poorly run, franchises that pay high fees to the franchisor, or just bad business concepts. You don't see Amherst Coffee, Bart's, Panda Garden, Fresh Side Cafe, Bueno y Sano, Zanna or ABC Brewery closing. They are well run and know their market.

Anonymous said...

The number one thing that kills businesses is lack of customers. Everytime I walked by there was hardly a soul in Ben & Jerry's. Not so for Bart's.

Max Hartshorne said...

As another business owner, I shudder when I read these accounts of closing businesses. But the last commenter is spot on...look at Amherst Coffee, Panda, Bueno and the others he cites...These are all unique, well run businesses that clearly are a league above the franchises like Ben and Jerrys where there is no owner anywhere in sight to keep it all going. That's a big difference. And that location does stink, look at how many failures have happened there.

Anonymous said...

The location's great. It's the rent that stinks.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I would say "deserve to fail". However if your expenses are higher than income you are history. Most store owners can't go to the taxpayer asking for more money as in increased taxes of fees. They can raise their prices but with consequences.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, there used to be a HUGE divide between public sector and private sector employees...not any more.

(I want a bailout! And I would also like 'Bunker Hill Day' off.)

Helen said...

Larry, are you sure they are closed for good? If I remember correctly, they closed last year in the summer and reopened after the students came back.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the schools suck in Scamhesrt as well...


Say buh bye to the cash cow(s)...


http://www.gazettenet.com/2009/07/25/grading-amherst-schools

Anonymous said...

Helen- last time Ben and Jerry's closed it was during the winter (not summer when most folks want ice cream)

Anonymous said...

The best deal in town is to run a business out of an Amherst Housing Authority apt., $250 a month utilities included. Futhermore if you don't pay any sales tax into the state of even file Federal of State taxes it is pure profit.

Anonymous said...

Another great deal is to get a large grant to operate your business.Heck maybe these business that operate out of these failed locations should declare themselves a non-profit and just pay themselves a hugh salary off the top.

Anonymous said...

"The best deal in town is to run a business out of an Amherst Housing Authority apt., $250 a month utilities included."

And what would that business be? C'mon, don't pussyfoot around. Either name or it shut yer yap.

Anonymous said...

Believe me there is a business operating out of Chestnut CT run by the Amherst Housing Authority. It has been running for about 15 years. I have contacted the director of Amherst Housing, its head of the Board of Directors and the Town Manager. It appears they don't care. If I felt it would serve any purpose I would mention names but I'm waiting for the proper time and place.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so interested in the name of the individual operating out of Amherst Housing? Do you plan on doing anything about it? Do you think I'm making this up.I have piles of concrete evidence concerning my complaint. I don't know if you followed the story of an individual in Northampton Housing who received a check in the amount of $175K and gets a government check for $2,200 a month plus social security and won a case against Northampton Housing for raising his $250 per month rent.