WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation Shopping Centers, Inc. has submitted their Five-Year Business Recovery Plan to the Navajo Nation Fiscal Recovery Fund Office, requesting funding from the $2.1 billion American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated to the Navajo Nation.
According to Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Taylor, the plan will help foster a post-coronavirus environment for new business growth by introducing new retail products and services to keep dollars in Navajo communities.
"The people need better access to goods and services not currently available within the nation's boundaries," says Taylor. "By investing in Navajo retail, we can reduce travel off the reservation, promote better health and safety, plus keep more dollars circulating within the nation."
The economic impact analysis and financial projections estimate that local communities will benefit by stimulating economic growth, increased tax revenues, and new employment opportunities.
NNSCI’s plan focuses on five main areas:
- Direct financial support for Shopping Centers' tenants in monthly lease rental assistance to support recovery and long-term sustainability
- Upgrade and modernize HVAC and filtration systems to better protect customers and employees from airborne bacteria and viruses
- 134,00 square feet of new retail development, including 144 micro-retail spaces for new businesses to create new jobs and generate taxable revenues
- Property revitalization to enhance building appearance and modernize for outside dining, attracting tourist customers, generating more traffic to exiting retail businesses
- Grant administration costs for implementation of the five-year plan
"It's a huge opportunity," says Taylor. "Our process is faster and less strenuous for starting and operating a business."
"Our tenants don't struggle and wait months, even years for a business site lease, clearances, and infrastructure development," he explains. "If the retail space is available and the business is fully prepared to begin operations, a business can open in a matter of days or weeks."
Last year, award-winning business owner Ahsaki Chachere was able to open a storefront for her Ah-Shi Beauty products and LaChach Coffee Shop in Window Rock.
"I am very proud and happy to open up our official storefront on our homeland," says Chachere. "The partnership with Navajo Nation Shopping Centers made it all possible, turning my vision into reality."
"Since I signed my lease, Shopping Centers has been very supportive, even throughout the entire pandemic," she added. "I have my people behind me. I have Navajo Nation Shopping Centers, Inc. supporting me. We made history together with our storefront here in Window Rock."
Chachere's story is like many other Navajo entrepreneurs who dream of opening their business, creating a life for themselves and their families while creating jobs and opportunities.
Taylor is confident that NNSCI's plan will benefit and support businesses like Ah-Shi Beauty and LaChach Coffee Shop, starting with tenant incentives. Additionally, Taylor says the plan to upgrade all NNSCI retail buildings will attract more customers and reduce expenses for their tenants.
"We'd like to improve exterior walls, walkways, lighting, and patios to provide a safe public place for customers to enjoy the outdoor setting," Taylor says. "We also want to improve energy efficiency and reduce certain operating expenses for our tenants."