Businesses in La Quinta Village struggling after Ralph's closure

La Quinta Economy

LA QUINTA, Calif. - A lone shopping cart is about the only thing parked at the La Quinta Village shopping center. Now that its anchor store, Ralph's, is officially closed, the once buzzing plaza feels more like a ghost town.

"We've seen a little bit of a decline," said business owner John Reynolds of his long-standing restaurant in the Village, Chapelli's.

"We have no walk-ins anymore and we're hoping they bring a grocery store in soon," said Sammie Freitag, who opened La Quinta Salon & Day Spa.

For the first time since Freitag opened her business five years ago, she's worried she won't make rent.

"I don't know if we don't get an anchor store here soon that any of the stores will survive, Freitag said.

To stay afloat businesses are cutting prices and offering specials wherever they can. Chapelli's has a $19.95 dinner special, and Great Clips is offering $7.99 hair cuts.

But what the owners find most troubling: this closure adds to a long list of La Quinta businesses that now look abandoned.

"Everyone's worried about the decline of business in La Quinta," Reynolds said.

The city says many of those vacant buildings will soon have new tenants, but the names are still to be disclosed.

"A new restaurant that I can't announce yet will go into the former Champions Motors site," said Les Johnson, Community Development Director for the city of La Quinta.  "We do have a few prominent restaurants looking at our community."

The city says other development is also on the way, with heavy interest in the Highway 111 corridor.

"We have Hobby Lobby under construction right now," Johnson said. "We have a Cinemark Theater in process. We do expect a much stronger interest in new businesses."

As for the Ralph's building, it's still eagerly searching for another business to fill its walls.

"Unfortunately at this time we don't know who that might be," Johnson said.

"We're just hoping and praying it'll come soon," Freitag said.

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