SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Sportscard Fantasy’s at the Santa Maria Town Center is like Curt Miller’s second home. Enter his store and you'll find jerseys, hats and even sports key chains.
"I lived in this area when this mall opened and it was the happening place,” he recounted.
Miller has kept this mom and pop shop running for more than 20 years. He’s seen tenants at the Santa Maria Town Center come and go.
"The way I judge success is if we are getting more stores than losing and I think we have in the last couple of years,” he said.
Throughout the years Miller says he’s gotten to know his customers pretty well. He interacts with them and usually is on a first name basis.
Business in Santa Maria is booming. The city is home to the Enos Ranch Project where many new stores and restaurants will soon be opening.
"When they [customers] are buying local they know the money is staying here locally,” said Miller. "There is a lot of small time people like me that won’t go out there because when they see the rent, the mall will actually work with you.”
Tenants at the mall like Tammy Maddox said business is on the rise. "People love that we are still around all these big corporations are kind of coming in and weeding us out,” she said.
Her family owns Xtreme Backyards. She says lately she’s seen more foot traffic in the area.
"Our business is good right now the economy has dictated how our business is,” she added.
She said regardless of the new development coming to the city, she’s positive her business will continue to flourish. "I hope it doesn’t affect us,” she said.