At a presentation on the future of Altadena retail, Altadena Chamber of Commerce board members noted that a survey done by the chamber showed the 57.1 percent of respondents said they wanted more national brand stores in Altadena.
The presentation was given by board members Ed Meyers, Lori Webster, and Dan Harlow at Tuesday's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations meeting.
The question on national brands came in a question about what categories of retail people would want to see more of in Altadena - national brands, at 57.1 percent, came in second after restaurants at 77.2 percent.
By contrast, only 45.9 percent said they wanted more independent stores, though in a separate question, 73.6 percent said they like supporting local businesses. The survey also had 92.4 percent of respondents saying Altadena does not offer enough retail.
Lori Webster, the owner of , also noted that while about 73 percent said they liked to support local business, 74.6 percent said they do most of their shopping at national chains.
The survey was done last year by the Altadena Chamber of Commerce - almost 400 people took the survey online. The Chamber did note that the survey was not designed to be in line with Altadena demographics - significantly more women than men took the survey, and almost 20 percent of survey takers reported their household incomes as between $100,000 and $150,000. Full survey results can be .
Ed Meyers also discussed the Chamber's concerns over parking restrictions - new businesses need to meet requirements on providing parking spaces for customers, a requirement Meyers said is often extremely difficult because there is limited parking available in town.
The issue was also brought up during the Altadena Community Visioning process and Meyers noted that people who were surveyed about the visioning process noted parking requirements as an important issue for the county to deal with.
Another big issue was vacant properties and blight - the empty Blockbuster storefront on Lake Avenue, the vacant property next to Ralph's and the half-constructed building at Lincoln and Altadena were all mentioned as places that have not been well kept. Increasing fines for not taking care of vacant properties was another issue raised in the visioning process.
Another point that was made at the meeting is that since Altadena is not packed with retail, people often assume there are no businesses or services in town at all. Leslie Aitken, who owns a , was one of those who agreed with that sentiment.
Aitken noted that she sometimes has clients come up from Los Angeles or even San Diego for custom projects - she has a listing on Craigslist that people respond to, she said. However, she said she does not think she is on the radar of Altadena customers.
"No matter how I advertise people don’t know I’m there and that is an issue," Aitken said.