Landlord Pulls Out of 66 S&M. No Reach-Around.

Sorry for the vulgar post title [OK, not really], but I thought I'd get as much mileage out of 66 S&M [Scooters & Mopeds] as I could, now that it is veritably finished.

About 2 months ago, New Urban Transport announced it was closing down, after it's primary lines of scooters [Genuine and Kymco] were bought out by Vespa of Albuquerque [those zany Garcia brothers]. Not being able to stand the idea of a University area without a scooter shop, I jumped at the opportunity to claim their old space at Central and University. The price was just right, and my buddy even anted up to rent out the front half to do a coffee house.

I'd met with the landlord twice, once to voice my interest in the property, which he thought was a fantastic idea! He even got a little whistful, saying that I reminded him of his younger self, with all my entrepreneurial spirit and "bright ideas." Just after Thanksgiving, I met with him again - this time with my buddy in tow, to sign the lease.

While we didn't sign, the landlord gave us what I can only identify as a verbal agreement. We agreed on the price, which was fair. We agreed on when we'd begin the lease, and what the terms were [a year lease - but he noted that if we went under, he wouldn't hold us to it! What a swell guy! He wouldn't stop talking about how he wanted us to succeed!]

We agreed on a whole lot of things with our soon-to-be new landlord that morning. We even agreed that this was going to be awesome relationship, and we couldn't wait to get into business with each other. He took our names and phone numbers, along with all that stuff we'd agreed on, and put them on a lease. He'd call when the current tenant [that being New Urban] had finalized their plans and exit strategy. No worries! This guy is totally behind us!

Fast forward another 2 weeks, and my buddy and I have been super busy. I've spend a ton of cash on parts for the shop, not to mention a whole lot of infrastructure[s] from the previous tenants [big work-benches, an air-lift, racks, tables, oil drums, desks, lots of stuff that New Urban won't have to move because it won't be going anywhere!]

My buddy even jets off to a trade show to get up to par on the current coffee merchant trends, and I go ahead and begin registering web domains, attending SBA classes, getting the phone stuff in order, calling around for sign-painters, fighting with my bank over money, going to 3 other lenders when my bank didn't come through, waiting in lines, registering tax and license information - all the fun stuff you get to do when you're opening a business. So much time and money invested, and there was even more still to come.

So who calls on Monday evening? It's my new landlord! Sweet, we're probably going to sign the lease we'd already agreed on.

Only we're not, because he found someone else who is going to pay more for the space, and he's already signed them. He's already signed them before my buddy and I can make a counter-offer, or even offer up our grievances. He is so stoic, in fact - that neither my buddy nor I recognize him from the friendly, spry old guy we had sat down with hardly 2 weeks prior. He doesn't want us to succeed anymore!



Lots of people got screwed this week. My buddy and I, of course, have 2 homeless businesses. New Urban also have had to adjust their exit accordingly, especially with so much stuff having to find a new home. Also, all the Albuquerque scooterists and moped riders who were looking forward to having a continued shop presence in their neighborhood have been hoodwinked and disenfranchised.

Sure, we've been looking around for another space - but this one really was a gem. Not likely to find another property that was quite as ready to become a scooter shop in the UNM/ Nob Hill area.

So thanks a lot, Connie Nellos. You're a right bastard.

I'll be keeping my distance from you, sir - as well as the businesses you own, such as Quarter's, not that I have a taste for BBQ. And I certainly won't be buying my holiday booze from your package stores, either [Jubilation's got a way better selection, anyway].

If you really want businesses to succeed, sir - you have to honor your word and give them a shot first.

-Kent R Wilhelmi

Views: 42

Comment by jeff on December 17, 2008 at 4:10pm
oh - what a tremendous drag.
the silver lining is, of course, that it's a great time to lease space and there is plenty of it around.
Comment by Cupcake Pharaoh on December 17, 2008 at 4:10pm
aw. suck ass. i'm so sorry Kent. i pray to the business gods that you will find another space!
Comment by kentifyr on December 17, 2008 at 4:20pm
how does one get this on the front page?
Comment by jeff on December 17, 2008 at 4:26pm
notify a moderator. they don't feature unless you have a photo though.
Comment by Cupcake Pharaoh on December 17, 2008 at 4:27pm
I would ask a site administrator nicely?
Comment by slamwagon on December 17, 2008 at 4:44pm
Lame man... keep us in the loop about any happenings. You know the drill (when God closes a door...).
Comment by Miriam on December 17, 2008 at 5:22pm
Wow. I'm sorry that didn't work out. FYI I have found that the majority of verbal agreements go kerpluey. Always sign something when it comes to business ventures before proceeding. I know - horse, barn door...
Comment by CB on December 18, 2008 at 9:02am
What goes around, comes around - you may never know it but it will come back to him.

Good luck to you.
Comment by Michael P. "Martini Mike" D'Arco on February 8, 2009 at 12:26pm
What a douche! And he has a girl name. I have noticed in Albuquerque to always get it in writing before spending a dime. TIme and energy wasted is bad enough. Hope you find another space.
Comment by cathyray on February 8, 2009 at 12:51pm
dang, dude, that sucks. And that Connie tries to put himself out there as a family oriented, local icon. I have always supported them, even going to the fund raisers for his group in his son's memory. For my money, a booth at his Yale St location was heaven, strong drinks & BBQ, aaahhhhh.

This whole thing stinks but I suppose that in a strictly business, Donald Trumpy kind of way it is acceptable, commendable even, to wring mo money out of something. The Art of the Deal & all that shit. I recently went through a similar thing WITH MY BROTHER!! when he wanted to sell me the land he owns that was being auctioned off due to the fact that the lameass doesn't bother to pay his property taxes. Don't get me started. I even knew better but got my hopes up that my old hippie chick dream of building my own house on a couple of acres of land in spite of myself. Worked the phone for days, etc...What a crash that was but I forced myself to get philosophical about it & realized that it was all for the best.
It's easy to offer up a bunch of cliches to try to make you feel better but it really does work itself out. Good Luck. I know something will work out for you.

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