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