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Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Businesses Thriving as Commercial Expansion Continues

 When Stewart Chiropractic & Family Wellness Centre owner Dr. Chad Stewart and his wife, Cara, moved to the Valley from Calgary, Alberta, Canada a year-and-a-half ago, they brought with them aspirations of achieving the American dream. Stewart had seven years of chiropractic experience, having been involved as a partner with one practice and as an independent contractor with another, and he wanted the opportunity to own his own business.
 
Originally, he tried opening a practice in Goodyear; however, a delay in obtaining his visa led to the lease being pulled on his original space. Stranded and without the desire to work for someone else, he turned to a friend in Laveen who told him to explore the option of opening a practice in the Laveen Village Marketplace at 51st Avenue and Baseline Road, which, at the time, was in the beginning stages of construction.
 
“It ended up being the best place I could imagine because we were able to get on with all the insurance companies we wanted and do the things we wanted to do because there wasn’t the competition,” Stewart said.
 
More than a year later, the business is thriving and Stewart is preparing to open a second facility in Goodyear.
 
Stewart’s practice isn’t the only new business venture succeeding in the South Mountain area. Across the street, road restrictions and nearby construction contributed to a slow opening last September at Bank of America, but customer traffic has since picked up dramatically, said Bill Dominguez, banking center manager.
 
“A lot of new businesses are opening up, so we’re also bringing in a lot of new associates,” he added.
 
Besides associates, the branch also continues adding new products and services regularly to meet demand. The location’s “de novo” format includes a more user-friendly design with a media wall, live television monitors, manned and unmanned drive-thrus, and self-service safe deposit boxes. On July 13, Bank of America will bring representatives from the local business community together by hosting the South Mountain/Laveen Chamber of Commerce After 5 Mixer.
 
Down Baseline Road a few miles, Steve Peitler, CEO of Gallagher’s Inc., has experienced similar success since opening his 7,500-square-foot sports grill at 32nd Street and Baseline Road in February.
“I’m very satisfied,” he remarked. “With opening up any new restaurant it’s a process to get to A to B, but I think the transition has gone very well, and I think the community has responded very well … It’s certainly one of our strongest stores by far.”
 
Although many customers during the evenings are local residents, Peitler said lunchtime traffic often includes people from throughout the Valley who are in the area for business.
 
The strength of the location is what brought Peitler to the South Mountain Village. The new site has allowed him to make improvements and add amenities based on the things he’s learned over the years building stores and opening restaurants. Karaoke was recently added to the restaurant’s offerings, and the staff is beginning preparations for the upcoming football season, which begins with preseason games in August.
 
As one of the first tenants to open at Legacy Village at 24th Street and Baseline Road, Applebee’s experienced record revenues during its first week in business. Since then, the same type of community support has continued, said Adam Edelen, spokesperson for Thomas & King Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s.
 
“The Phoenix market has been great for us,” he remarked. “The market is really growing, and we’re really committed to growing along with it.”
 
Rumors have swirled that part of the company’s expansion could include a location at 51st Avenue and Baseline Road. Although “enamored with the location,” Edelen was unable to comment on any specific sites. Currently, projects underway at the intersection include Home Depot west of the Laveen Village Marketplace and a Walgreen’s on the southwest corner. At the Shoppes at Rogers Ranch on the northeast corner, CVS will front a mixed-use center with office space and retail.
 
Mike Moreines, owner of Sierra Sun Properties, and a partner in the Estrella Mountain Village-led project on the southwest corner, said major tenants are still being interviewed for spots behind Walgreen’s, but no occupants have been confirmed yet. Once a major tenant is signed, the rest of the shopping center will be built out. The 14-acre site has pads reserved for a bank; two fast-food eateries; and 5,000-square-foot, sit-down restaurant.
 
“I am not leasing anything until I land my major; I don’t want to have a Safeway situation,” said Moreines, referring to the adjacent grocery store that remains delayed. “When we break ground, we’re basically going to be full.”
 
He estimates a January 2008 completion date for the entire project.
 
South of the commercial center along Baseline Road, Moreines and Terrazona partners Randy Raskin and Jon James are developing a “neighborhood center” at 51st Avenue and Dobbins Road that is scheduled for completion around July 2007. The 8-acre site is a key location because it is the only shopping center that has been approved south of Baseline Road. So far, leases have been signed for an old-fashioned men’s barber shop, a pet grooming business and a nail salon.
 
“I’m going to put in there the meat-and-potatoes kind of user – the things people need every single day,” Moreines added. “And these are mostly going to be locals – local Laveen people or South Mountain people.”
 
The success of local businesses and the expansion of commercial developments throughout the area is a positive sign for the future, especially when the newcomers recognize the history and diversity that makes the community so unique, said Steve Glueck, chairman of the South Mountain/Laveen Chamber of Commerce.
 

“We are here to be an encourager and a resource for the older business community, as well as the newcomers,” he added. “A successful community recognizes where it came from so we can all move forward together.”

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