By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Portales downtown business owners have mixed feelings on exactly how much their businesses will be affected by the opening of the new Portales Inn hotel and restaurant, which will be located in the downtown area.
Officials working on the Portales Inn Hotel have been optimistic that parts of the building could be open for business come this summer. Developers would like to have a restaurant on the bottom floor and a meeting room.
“I think it’s going to be wonderful,” said Danny Woodward, who owns Woody’s Jewelry and is a partner in The Do Drop Inn coffee shop. Both businesses are in the downtown area.
“It will affect The Do Drop Inn directly,” Woodward said. “But not only will it affect the downtown businesses but all of the other businesses in Portales, such as gas stations and restaurants.”
Chuck Abbott is the owner of Big League Sports, a sports clothing store in the downtown area. He said he’s not so sure his store will see jumps in customer totals.
“I don’t think it will affect the store, directly,” Abbott said. “But it (hotel) would be nice for the downtown area. It would give people a place to hang out at.”
Both Abbott and Woodward said it would be nice to have more traffic (meaning more customers) in the downtown area. Abbott said the benefit of The Roosevelt restaurant was that people were walking around in the downtown area and brought it to life after 5 p.m. Many of the downtown businesses are closed after 5 p.m.
The Roosevelt has been closed since the end of 2004.
“There needs to be more restaurants in Portales,” Abbott said. “There’s not enough places for people to go to if they want to enjoy a sporting event and have a cocktail. Some people in their 30s and 40s would just like to go to a place to hang out, relax and watch a sporting event.”
Abbott said people options are limited in Portales if people are seeking a restaurant with big screen televisions and the option of alcoholic drinks — amenities The Roosevelt provided. He said these features would be nice for the proposed restaurant in the Portales Inn Hotel.
Bill Raisbeck, a former hotel developer who lives in Portales, has been working on restoring the hotel, which hasn’t been in use for about six years. Raisbeck is working with Steve Nishimuta, a San Diego contractor.
Raisbeck is hoping for renovation to start in early April and would like to have two floors operational by June or July. He said the renovation could be completed by September. Raisbeck said on Wednesday he hopes to have more information on the renovation in mid-April.
“I think they’ll help us,” Roxie Pritchett, who works at the Portales Home Medical Equipment, said. “I stay at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe because it’s a historical building. It’s something maybe the developers can look into by making the Portales Inn, a historical building for this area. It may have the same effect in this area.”
Doris Hay, an employee for Expressions Custom Embroidery, said the store specializes in embroidery and screening. She said their major customers are the university, city of Portales, Portales High School and dairy owners.
“I’m ecstatic about the idea,” Hay said. “It would be a nice to have another nice hotel in Portales. We’re in need of another classy hotel.”