BY ANDY AND BARBARA PHELPS
Yesterday, the price for Smith’s unleaded gasoline in Los Alamos was $3.19 per gallon. Smith’s in Santa Fe on Saint Michael’s was charging $2.83 per gallon making unleaded gasoline approximately 13% higher in Los Alamos. That approaches the definition of price gouging (exorbitant pricing in a period of emergency).
Smith’s in Los Alamos has guaranteed they face minimal competition by the restrictions and pricing on the abandoned MariMac property, yet they benefit from School owned property. Service in Smith’s Los Alamos is very poor with the excuse of not being able to hire. Shelves are poorly stocked. Frequently lines at checkout and the pharmacy are an hour long. I am curious if anyone is price comparing Smith’s goods in Los Alamos versus Santa Fe for additional examples of overpricing Los Alamos. Service is far better in Smith’s Santa Fe with cashier lines open, shelves stocked and staff that make you feel welcome.
Driving 45 minutes to Santa Fe regularly to shop doesn’t make good sense, but what leverage does our community have to change this? Competition is always a good equalizer. I’d suggest the schools who own the property Smith’s now leases and the County have a conversation about terms for the next lease. Press Smith’s to reduce their restrictions on sale of Marimac property so we can attract a businesses other than as a storage site for LANL. Press Smith’s to treat our community fairly. Keeping other businesses out of our community hurts our citizens in many ways and hurts our tax base.