Aug 5, 2013 8:23 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Santa Maria City Council will soon decide fate of Mervyn's building

The Santa Maria City Council will decide on whether to allow another discount store in downtown. In June, the council chose to postpone a final vote until August on allowing a Fallas store to open in the old Mervyn's building. The council was split 3-2 on the issue with three members against The City Council wanted more information about Fallas' plans before making the final decision. The building has been closed for more than five years. Some people say the space needs to be filled, while others argue the city doesn't need another discount store. City Manager Rick Haydon sent out a statement this afternoon explaining why they didn't want to comment and one of the issues was potential lawsuits against the city. We spoke with some of the businesses near the old Mervyn's building to find out if their feelings have changed over the past few weeks. "I think it would be great. I think it would bring more people in this area," said Silvia Ayala, owner of Woody's Boba Drinks. Ayala says business is good, but she hopes with a new neighbor, it will be better. "I was thinking when it would be open it would be great to have that building open again," said Ayala. But only a few stores down, Anthony's Jewelers owner, Angie Shapparo, says she'll welcome any new business, just not a discount store. "I wish that everybody could fit in, but to me this store in the downtown area isn't the store we need here," said Shapparo. Fallas is a family owned business known for its low prices, but Shaparro says it's not the quality the city needs. "I noticed it wasn't kept up. Either the inside or the parking lot," said Shaparro, after she visited a Fallas store in Bakersfield. At last month's city council meeting, company president Michael Fallas says the Santa Maria store would be a flagship store. He said it would be an upscale version of the other stores in California. City officials say there are 34 discount stores in Santa Maria citywide and six of them are downtown. They also say leaving this building empty costs the city $50,000 in lost local sales tax every year.The council will also vote on a moratorium, which would prevent any more discount stores from coming into the downtown area.



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