Friday, July 17, 2009

The cost of doing business

So yes, as an Amherst Town Meeting member with too many years business experience I will of course support the property tax break for Atkins Farm stand my South Amherst business neighbor. But if somebody asked me over the past 20 years or so for a list of the top retail businesses in Amherst, Atkins would be high on my list.

And I remember 45 years or so ago when they were neck-and-neck with Wentworth Farms for farm stand fresh produce sales. At the time Atkins was on the other side of the main road and they had a GIANT bright red apple on top of the tiny farm stand.

But today anytime you drive or cycle by during business hours the Atkins parking lot is overflowing. Wentworth Farms is long gone.

Good for me of course since the building I have occupied for the past 26 years or so was originally apple storage for Wentworth Farms, thus if they had not gone belly up due to Atkins…

But how about the Lord Jeffery Inn? Yeah, I know--they are owned by tax-exempt Amherst College who has a BILLION in their endowment. But a year ago it was a LOT higher than that. Thus they cancelled the $20 million renovation of their cozy Inn, although they seem to find the cash to do millions in renovations to their other tax-exempt infrastructure.

Now the decaying Lord Jeff sits forlornly in town center as a high profile public embarrassment. Why not offer Amherst College a tax break over the next five years or so to do the damn renovation?

The Lord Jeff generates collateral business for everybody in the downtown and when Amherst increases the hotel/motel tax to 6% (that too, I will support) the Lord Jeff would pass thru over $100,000 annually to the town.

If we can subsidize Atkins why not Amherst College?


Anonymous said...

"High profile embarrassment[s]" are in the eye of the beholder.

Anthropomorphizing buildings sometimes curries favor in polemics, "Appearing sad or lonely because deserted or abandoned."

Anonymous said...

why the fuck should we give a thriving supermarket a tax break? their prices are high enough for them to afford higher taxes....though they still qualify as a farm stand?


Anonymous said...

anything with automatic doors is not a farmstand.

Anonymous said...

"Now the decaying Lord Jeff sits forlornly in town center as a high profile public embarrassment."

Actually it's an excellent example of the thinking(?) of our decision makers. You know, not only keep the tax base low but lower it some more. Then the whining can start for an override. And the homeowners can get to pay even more.

LarryK4 said...

Anon: 9:26 AM

Yeah, I ever-so get your explicitly made point. Atkins is in the top ten for "Largest Employers" in Amherst and of course that is their hook: that they will hire a few more part-time employees with this expansion/tax break.

But interestingly they are #8 on the list with 150 (ahead of Big-Y at #9 with 140 and Judie's Restaurant at #11 with 60.)

And Judy (one of my favorite women of Amherst) just did a multi-million dollar expansion/renovation and did NOT request a tax break.

My family was there just last night for dinner (actually got to see former Czar Anne Awad, former resident/Select Board member Robie Hubley and Isaac Ben Ezra having dinner) and Judie's is still kicking butt.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Anderson's Farm Stand the one that was on the other side of the road, not Atkins?

Anonymous said...

Did you take Anne's picture?

Anonymous said...

Did you pinch her ass?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me Atkins is two businesses.

One is a farm - apple orchards - and I for one understand the value of having that land farmed for apples at a discounted tax rate.

One is a upscale boutique supermarket and I hope that part of the business is tax at the standard rate.

LarryK4 said...

Anon: 11:35 PM

No, I did not take her picture. But if they were sitting in front of the large windows overlooking her FORMER empire I could have, from the PUBLIC street.

Had the camera in the car but she's OLD NEWS.

Although I did want to go up to her and ask why Barry Del Castilho is no longer South Hadley's "Interim town administrator", recently replace by current "Interim town administrator" Jennifer L. Wolowicz.

Why would you replace an "Interim town administrator" with yet another "Interim town administrator."????