Is This Legal? "Savvy Boutique" Breaks Out a Chainsaw <<<UPDATES>>>

NOB HILL--There is one less tree on Central Ave. this Monday morning.  Why?  Apparently because "Savvy Boutique at Nob Hill"  didn't like it and chopped it down on Sunday.  Savvy Boutique is about to open their store on the corner of Central and Wellesley NE, former site of "Objects of Desire."

The store windows are papered over announcing the store will be opening soon.  However late Sunday morning two workers were cutting down a tree in front of the store with a chainsaw.  The tree was growing in one of the "bulb-outs" that were added to the Central Ave streetscape by the city about ten years ago.  The trees, as well as ornamental grasses and flowers that grow in the bulb-outs, are regularly maintained.

Sunday Lumberjacks
That anybody would be cutting down a street tree on a Sunday morning is suspicious in itself.  In fact, it was my wife who came home after a walk with the news that someone was cutting down a city-owned tree.  And as we all know, those trees belong to ALL of us--the people of Albuquerque.  That a local business would chop one down was inconceivable to me.

However, MaryAnn had pictures.  One showed two men in front of the store.  One man was holding two branches in his arms.  The other, who appeared to be talking to him, had a red-handled chainsaw and was working on the stump.  The stump was all that was left of the tree.  Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

The age of the tree was the same as the one kitty-corner across the street--in front of Gertrude Zachary.  It was of a good size.  By the way, the tree that was cut down was the only tree on the north side of Central Ave. in the whole block.

What Tree?
I had to go down the street and see this for myself.  Well there was no tree in front of Savvy and no sign of one either:  no chips, no stump, no nothing.  I went around to the back of the store.  There was nothing in the dumpsters, nor any other sign of a tree or its removal.  Was there no evidence?  Nothing but a memory?  Nothing to even provoke a question?

I went back to the front of the store and scuffed the dirt away with my foot.  There it was:  The Stump!  It had been cut off level with the ground.  it was about a foot in diameter.

The Stump
That's all that is left of ten years of watering.  A community made a decision to plant and support this tree.  For ten years it withstood heat, cold, drought, and pedestrian abuse.  However, it could not survive the chainsaw attack of this Sunday morning.

Savvy?  Hardly.
Why was it done?  I guess it was going to interfere with a sign for Savvy.  Who knows?  But I will tell you this:  a Sunday morning chop job on a publicly owned tree does not speak well for any business. 

***Update!!!  Neal Copperman reports that Savvy's Facebook account has the following message:  "We apologize to those offended by the cutting of the tree outside of Savvy. We were unaware that the tree was going to be cut down. We will gladly be replanting a new tree!"

***Update!!!  By 2:00AM that message had disappeared from their Facebook page, but a couple of humorous comments referring to it remain.

***Update!!!  Edith Grove reports a new message on the Savvy Facebook page:

I would have never guessed that cutting down a tree would affect so many people but now that I see it does, I would like to offer my sincere apology, I am truly sorry.
The intentions were to help the visibility of a new locally owned store. I am sure that doesn’t make sense to you and I’m pretty sure whatever I say, to help explain my actions, wouldn’t. So again, I apologize for not thinking in depth, before acting.
In leu of restitution and in an attempt to try and make peace, I would like to offer to plant a new tree where ever you would like me to.
I will be honest and state that any message that does not come through a private message will not be taken seriously and will be erased. I do realize that I made a mistake and I hope my offer is sufficient, and I can assure you that this will never happen again, on our behalf.
Savvy Boutique

There are a lot of unanswered how could they have not known.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, a big Congratulations and Thank You are in order for the DCF community.  What an outpouring of concern.  Every tree still standing on a public right-of-way thanks you!  As do the birds and bees, the shade seekers, and those who like a more human-friendly place to live and shop.  Gracias.

Views: 13351

Comment by ramon t on January 22, 2013 at 9:35pm
I'm not the one that brought up the'artist', I see some major differences between the two situations.
Comment by Big Stamen on January 22, 2013 at 9:36pm

@Phil: The city is going to look the other way.....because it's a tree!!  Again, we have bigger problems to contend with.  But I will admit, I don't like to see trees cut down unnecessarily.  The guy screwed up...give him a second change.  Sheez.

Comment by shotsie on January 22, 2013 at 10:40pm

So, Savvy will pay for stump removal and a replacement tree, and got a bunch of free (bad) publicity.  Great!  However, the city is pressing to add rapid transit to the Central corridor, which could mean dedicated lanes - will parking be eliminated in front of Nob Hill stores?  Or the median removed to make way for a bus lane?  The passionate readers here should express their opinions at one of the meetings that are being held to discuss this issue that will probably affect Nob Hill a bunch.  Here's the schedule:

The meetings will be held:


Tuesday, Jan. 29, 6 pm – 8 pm

Central United Methodist Church

201 University Blvd. NE


Wednesday, Jan. 30, noon – 1 pm

UNM Student Union Building, Lobo Room A & B


Tuesday, Feb. 5, noon – 1 pm

CNM Student Resource Center, Room 204

Comment by The Bindi Queen on January 22, 2013 at 11:56pm

Urban trees don't just provide shade, they provide oxygen and keep us healthy. So yes, they are worth getting upset about.

Comment by K on January 23, 2013 at 8:04am

MaryAnn and Johnny great job on reporting this low deed by the owners of Savvy.  Cutting down a city planted tree on city property?????  and doing it on Sunday to go under the radar!  I hope the city investigates and considers a fine and a replanting of the tree at Savvy's expense.  Great way to start off a business in the 'hood, ey!

Comment by Clifton Chadwick on January 23, 2013 at 9:41am

Well, this is certainly a lively discussion!  Thanks, Adelita, for remind us about the "Politeness Policy."  I've had some pretty snarky thoughts about some of the comments in this thread that the expression of which my own name and picture, I believe, have moderated.  Also, thanks for the song Adelita, a little bitter humor to inject into the conversation.  Personally I'm deeply disappointed in someone who would tout their "local" ownership of a business would blatantly destroy "local COMMUNITY property."  Shame on not-so-Savvy Boutique.

Comment by Dianna Middleton on January 23, 2013 at 10:04am

Not So Savvy! Anyone who lives here knows the value of trees and the precious shade and oxygen they provide. Perhaps this store needs to rethink it's name. Chopper comes to mind.

Comment by Athena_Sword on January 23, 2013 at 10:14am

One of the most troubling aspects of this is that, according to the report on Channel 4 last night, the instigator will face no fine.  That seems to underscore the whole "it's just a tree" mentality.  I mean, if a tagger defaces a building, there's charges, a fine etc. Cutting down a semi-mature tree is a destructive act that can't be undone.  You can repair broken windows, scrub off graffiti, etc.  You can't replace a mature tree with a mature tree. 

Comment by once banned twice shy on January 23, 2013 at 12:05pm


Well, stump removal and planting a new tree won't be inexpensive.  Perhaps that's fine enough (and a more constructive one at that)?

Comment by Clifton Chadwick on January 23, 2013 at 4:29pm

Well, a tree grows on Central. About as tall, not a quarter of the girth. And it won't obstruct "visibility" for several months.


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