Although several businesses have closed in Payson recently, plenty of businesses are staying put and several new businesses have opened. At a recent Business Buzz luncheon, local business owners and town officials acknowledged times are hard, but remained optimistic things will turn around.
Owner of the Payson Village Center, Nazy Hirani, said he is staying in Payson for the long haul because he believes with the beautiful scenery and location the Rim Country has to offer, it is the next big area to take off.
Hirani bought the center nearly three years ago with the hopes of turning the center around. Recently his company, Hirani Oil Arizona, LLC began renovations on the façade, which he said was neglected for more than five years by the previous owners. Even with new stucco, color scheme and rocks going up, several businesses have closed in the past month and other empty pads have yet to be filled.
Corral West Ranchwear recently decided to close up after the company went bankrupt.
A nail and hair salon on the west side of the complex recently moved to a new location.
The buildings which housed the Country Kitchen restaurant and an automotive/ATV dealership have yet to be filled with new tenants, but Hirani said he has several interested tenants in the properties.
“The worst thing that can happen to a center is businesses coming and going,” he said. “It is very expensive to have a tenant leave and try to replace them.”
Hirani tried to dispel any rumors that Bashas’ was closing by saying that they have 14 years remaining on their lease.
“We are more committed to this center and town than ever before,” he said. “We are going to make it a success.”
Hirani said he spotted the Payson Village Center several years ago on a business trip to look at another shopping center.
“I thought the center was beautiful and would one day like to own it,” Hirani said to a crowd of 50 at the luncheon held at Chaparral Pines Dec. 16.
“We saw that it was a very pretty area and we thought that this is the next big area and we want to be there first,” he said.
With the economy hitting the brakes recently, Hirani said he understood why many businesses and consumers would be concerned about the longevity of the town’s economy.
“These trying times will pass,” he said.
Executive director of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation, Ken Volz, also acknowledged that the current business environment is not a good one, “There is no way getting around that.”
Brenda Mooney, co-owner of Bootleg Alley on Main Street, said although some businesses are closing up, more businesses are staying put and offering incredible deals including 20 and 75 percent off merchandise.
“This holiday season there are bargains to be had. The gift selection is eclectic and there’s something for everyone,” Mooney said.
“Shop local and support local business.”