Like many strip malls and shopping centers, La Quinta Old Town has its fair share of empty space and “for lease” signs.
Even owners like Dustin Nichols who has run Old Town Cellar since Old Town opened in 2005 will admit it can be a tough place to do business.
?It’s an ?off-the-beaten path? location,? he said. ?You have to give people something special so they make the effort to come to you. It’s not easy.?
It’s been downright brutal for a long list of shops that have shut down in the last year.
Devane’s was open for less than 2 years. The restaurant closed this past week.
Owner Josh Devane says he’ll stick it out with his Viva Cantina and Grill, just yards away.
?It’s more seasonal than other locations we’ve been in,? he said. ?We just didn’t quite expect that.?
Ian Platt ran his shoe repair business in Old Town for one year. When his lease was up, he moved to Palm Desert.
?I’m doing business now and it’s the middle of august,? he said. ?Down at Old Town, I wouldn’t be doing much.?
Platt says a lot of store owners at Old Town are frustrated, mostly with the property managers who he claims show favoritism with some tenants, while making life difficult for others.
?I would absolutely 100-percent disagree that there’s any favoritism,? said Property Manager Leslie Locken. ?There are tenants who have been here longer than others.?
?If they offered me free rent, I still wouldn’t have stayed there? said Platt.
But for those who hope to stay, they say they would like to see empty space filled with stores that will keep customers coming back.
?When people come back and things are different every year, people don’t know what to expect, ?said Devane. ?Then I think it makes it difficult to garner some long-term loyalty to Old Town.?