FARMINGTON — New businesses hoping to set up shop in Farmington have been keeping staffers at the city of Farmington's Community Development Department hopping recently with building permit and plan submissions. But others -- some longtime members of the community -- are closing their doors

One of those businesses coming to Farmington is the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, which is planning to open in the Animas Valley Mall.

"The Texas Roadhouse will be adjacent to the food court on the JC Penney's side," said Leo Hardie, chief building inspector for the department. "We're really busy right now with commercial plans coming in."

Hardie didn't know when the restaurant will be moving in, and Travis Doster, director of public relations for Texas Roadhouse, said some landlord negotiations are still being discussed, so the contract hasn't been finalized.

In addition to Texas Roadhouse, a Buffalo Wild Wings will be opening on the corner of Main and Hutton, but because the existing building has to be demolished, an estimated opening date was also unavailable.

Hardie said the department is also waiting on plans from Freddy's burgers, which intends to open a restaurant near Wal-Mart east. A Home 2 Suites Hilton hotel north of Border States Electric on Browning Parkway and another hotel at Browning and Main are also in the plans.

Audra Winters, president of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard rumors of a Chik-Fil-A coming in, as well as of a Walgreen's, which would be located on the West side downtown area. Hardie could not confirm these rumors.

Winters said that for the most part, small, independent businesses, as well as the larger chains, seem to be faring well despite the downturn in the economy.

PacSun sales associate Jerrod Noble talks with customer, Zoe Wilson-Meyer, on Dec. 20 at the Animas Valley Mall in Farmington.
PacSun sales associate Jerrod Noble talks with customer, Zoe Wilson-Meyer, on Dec. 20 at the Animas Valley Mall in Farmington. ( Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

"The restaurants, especially, seem to be doing well and always seem to be full, so I don't think the restaurant business has suffered much," she said. "There are still people out there that want to go to the smaller businesses and don't want to deal with the big box chains. It's always a good thing when a new business opens and it means growth."

City Manager Rob Mayes agrees that these new business plans portend a positive trend for Farmington.

"I love Farmington and am always pleased when national firms recognize the good economic and quality opportunities that our community offers," he said in a written statement. "The reports of these various new businesses is an encouraging sign and potential indicator of brighter economic days ahead. Providing great lodging, restaurants, retail and service opportunities in Farmington is crucial for maintaining our position as the commercial center of the Four Corners region."

Despite these new business plans, however, several businesses have recently closed or will be closing in the near future, including several in the Animas Valley Mall.

PacSun, which has been located in the mall since 2002, will be closing January 27. Store Manager Alex Johnson said the closure is the result of failed negotiations with the mall's leasing office.

"Our 10 year lease was up last year, and we couldn't come to an agreement regarding the new lease," he said. "It was really too expensive, and when new mall management came in, they also set some new rules and new requirements."

One of those requirements, Johnson said, was a mandatory re-model, which could cost the store upwards of $100,000 to complete. The store has employed twelve individuals, all of whom are now seeking other employment. The store will not be re-opening elsewhere in Farmington in the near future, said Johnson.

Other upcoming mall closures include the Famous Wok in the food court, Samuel's Jewelers, and Coach House Gifts/Hallmark.

Like PacSun, the Coach House store employed twelve people, all of whom are now seeking employment, said store Manager Lana Campbell.

"I don't know why we're closing, just that our lease was up and the decision was made not to renew it," said Campbell.

Animas Valley Mall Manager Jeff Ring didn't have information on specific lease agreements, saying mall leases are managed by the national leasing firm Rouse Properties, but he said the closures are just part of the normal ebb and flow of business growth and decline. He said some new businesses will be filling the vacancies in the near future.

"It's always unfortunate when we lose a retailer, but that's the way business goes," said Ring. "But we're going to see some really positive changes within the next few months, and hopefully we can make an announcement about what those changes will be within the next few weeks."

Leigh Black Irvin covers health and other news for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4610 and lirvin@daily-times.com. Follow her @irvindailytimes on Twitter.