Ripple effect varies for businesses around collapsed building

By Tony Parra

Downtown business owners are adjusting to the ripple effect of the collapse of the Prestige Carpets wall on Wednesday.
The wall above the Prestige Carpets store was taken down on Wednesday with a controlled fall when a separation was noticed in between the word ‘Prestige’ and ‘Carpets’ mid-day. Danny Heflin of Danny Heflin Builders in Portales said he received a call from Brown and once Heflin arrived at the store he called the state inspector. They came to the conclusion pretty quickly that the facing of the store had to come down.
Margaret Jones, who owns Hair Masters on the same street, said she was out of Portales when the area was enclosed by yellow tape. She said she wasn’t sure of what to think when she arrived to the scene.
“I saw people sitting in the lawn of the Roosevelt County Courthouse and at first, I thought it was another bomb scare,” Jones said, referring to an April 26 evacuation of the courthouse. “Then when I saw the yellow tape by the buildings and the fire truck, I thought it might have been a fire.”
The portion of South Main street in front of Cozy Cottage Cross Stitch Shoppe and The Bread Basket store designated for parking was still closed off as of Friday.
“It hasn’t affected business,” Jones said. “The only inconvenience has been to some of my elderly customers who have to walk a little further. Other than that, it’s been business as usual.”
The portion of S. Main St. in front of the Cozy Cottage Cross Stitch Shoppe, Prestige Carpets, Bread Basket, Hair Masters, Jackson Hewitt and Valley Furniture was closed off for through traffic since Wednesday at 2 p.m. Victoria Garrett, proprietor of Cozy Cottage Cross Stitch Shoppe and Lori Bollema, owner of The Bread Basket, said the fire department members boarded up their windows to ensure no damage to their windows.
“I was impressed as to how quick and how responsive they (fire department and construction members) were,” Bollema said. “It didn’t really affect my business. It has been quite busy. I had to take some things out of the refrigerator because they weren’t sure how long the power was going to be out, but that same night I moved everything back into the refrigerator.”
Bollema said her business hours are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. She said at the time the area was being closed off on Wednesday, it was around closing time and the incident didn’t affect the restaurant. Garrett said her business had to shut down from 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday, while Jones said her business lost hours between 4-6 p.m.
Bollema said her landlord David Stone assured her The Bread Basket was not looking at the same type of situation with her wall. Garrett’s building, like the Prestige Carpets’ building, is also being leased out by Marie Campbell, which Garrett said is being operated by Campbell’s son, Tom.
“I haven’t been able to get a hold of him,” Garrett said. “He is a very good landlord. It’s (wall falling) not something you think about. I feel bad for Bill because this puts his business on hold for a while.”
The area was closed off by the Portales Fire Department and the Portales street department had the portion of S. Main street closed off until Friday at noon, according to Tom Howell, Portales public works director.