Business Feature: Retailers say business steady

CNJ file photo North Plains Mall Manager Cindy Banister said the mall is showing economic gain in spite of the recession. Monday, economists announced the recession is nearing an end.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

While economists are declaring the recession nearly over, many Clovis businesses say they never felt it and the city’s gross receipt taxes from retail and services are holding steady.

More than 80 percent of economists believe the recession is over and an expansion has begun, but they expect the recovery will be slow as worries over unemployment and high federal debt persist.

Clovis Community Development Director Claire Burroughes said Clovis has been “maintaining” through the recession, with GRTs, a percentage of tax collected from local retail and services, neither rising nor dropping in recent months.

Tabulated monthly, GRTs are a factor in evaluating the status of the local economic landscape.

“It’s not down, it’s not up, and it’s been that way for three or four months (and) it hasn’t gone down yet,” Burroughes said.

The economic consensus comes from leading forecasters in a survey by the National Association for Business Economics released Monday.

The forecasters upgraded the economic outlook for the next several quarters, but cautioned that unemployment rates and the federal deficit are expected to remain high through the next year.

The national housing recovery is one bright spot in economic predictions.

Burroughes said housing growth is on the horizon for Clovis as well, especially with growth at Cannon.

“We’re getting a lot of subdivisions coming in and people looking at constructing in the community,” she said.

Clovis businesses reported a range of economic situations, from seeing growth to still feeling a slump.

At Clovis’ North Plains Mall, Manager Cindy Banister said Clovis’ mall has shown a gain in the last two years, and Didi Sotelo of Mastertrim, a vehicle accessory center in Clovis, said in the last two months, business has picked up after a short slump.

However, Nieves Ortegon, a framer with Frame and Art Gallery of Clovis, said business has been slow.

“We really haven’t seen any reaction from (the economy improving) yet,” she said.

In Portales, Megan Hamilton said in recent months, business has held steady at Trader Horn’s True Value, where she is employed.

“I don’t know that it ever really got bad for us,” she said. “We did see things slow a little, but we didn’t see a drop, it just wasn’t accelerated growth.”

Hamilton said Portales seems to be insulated to some extent from the economic problems seen in larger cities.

“I think Portales’ economy has been really stable for the most part. We don’t see the big highs, but we don’t see the big lows either,” she said.