Sep 4, 2013 9:40 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News
The doors of the new Fallas discount store in Santa Maria are set to open on the 22nd of this month, but the City Council just voted to shut the door to any new discount stores.
On Tuesday night, the Santa Maria City Council approved a temporary ban on bargain basement stores in order to take a hard look at the plan for the downtown area.
City officials hope to attract more high-end stores in order to draw shoppers from around the region; however, KSBY spoke with a discount store manager and some of his customers on Wednesday who have a very different vision that has nothing to do with anything like a Nordstrom's.
When it comes to dollars and cents, discount store manager Tyler Young says one thing is clear, banning discount stores from moving into downtown makes none.
"I have myself anywhere from 200 to 400 customers a day that come into this store alone," said Young.
He says just like any other business, the sales tax he charges goes straight back into the local economy.
Louise Perry shops discount all the time and says it shouldn't just be about drawing people from outside the area, but taking care of those who live within it.
"We're all on limited incomes and we need to stretch our money as much as we can, so these are a necessity," said Perry.
Councilman Bob Orach says the decision was not easy, but in order to keep the integrity of the downtown plan, the ordinance was necessary.
"Now to bring in maybe higher upscale stores, you're certainly going to have to have that draw from all over," said Orach. "Rather than being plunked in the middle of a bargain basement center, that doesn't do us much good."
"They're just trying to make sure that we end up with a good mix of stores throughout the downtown specific plan area," said Community Development Director Larry Appel.
"There shouldn't be any type of target on any type of store, regardless of the store," said Young. "This is America. You should be able to rent any location, get your sellers permit; and be able to open any type of legal business you want."
KSBY also spoke with Councilmember Jack Boysen who said that he is completely against any type of permanent moratorium on discount stores or any other legal business.
The temporary ban goes into effect immediately and lasts 45 days. During that time, city planners will re-evaluate the downtown specific plan.
If the council thinks it's necessary, the ban could be extended for up to 22 months and 15 days.
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