Last updateTue, 30 May 2017 5pm

Time's up for Mohr Clocks

Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Gavin Barta explores the inventory at Mohr Clocks. The clock sales and repair store, which has been on El Camino Real since Horst Mohr opened it in 1956, closed at the end of December.

Mohr Clocks shuttered its doors just before Christmas Day, turning the lights off on what may have been Los Altos’ oldest business.

Norm Mohr took over the business from his father, Horst, who opened the clock sales and repair store at 4856 El Camino Real in 1965.

Unassuming Main Street building an outpost of legendary family

Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Edward Sassoon built 101 Main St. in 1954. The scion of a Jewish Baghdadi family, his properties spanned from London to Mumbai and Shanghai.

One could be forgiven for thinking the Sassoon Building at 101 Main St. got its name because it is seemingly always occupied by salons – and now Brownhome Designs.

But the ranch-style office building can lay claim to a far more auspicious history than one named after shampoo entrepreneur Vidal Sassoon. It was built by Edward Sassoon, who took out a full-page advertisement when he opened the doors in 1954. Los Altos’ new office building was the latest node in a three-continent family empire that began in 19th-century Baghdad and spanned from London to Shanghai.

New stores may give downtown a new look in 2017

Asher Kohn/Town Crier
A man walks by the space ASA occupies at 242 State Street. The restaurant, operated by the proprietor of The Basin in Saratoga, is targeting a first quarter of 2017 opening.

Downtown Los Altos is expecting a boost from a host of new businesses in the new year.

An investment firm and a new child’s play company opened their doors in the waning weeks of 2016. Several restaurants and a wine-tasting room plan to start serving customers in 2017.

Tax relief on the way for small businesses

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved County Assessor Larry Stone’s recommendation to dramatically increase the number of property owners eligible to receive a “too low to assess” exclusion, benefiting mostly small-business owners.

The new ordinance doubles the amount of the exclusion (from $5,000 to $10,000) for business personal property and adds two new categories of property eligible for the exemption:

Realty site makes 2017 predictions

The 2017 housing market will experience moderate growth in the nation’s housing market but slower gains compared to the last two years, according to forecasts in the “2017 Housing Review” at Realtor.com, the official site of the National Association of Realtors.

Realtors predicted that home prices would increase 3.9 percent and existing home sales would rise 1.9 percent, to 5.46 million homes. Interest rates are expected to reach 4.5 percent, new home sales to grow 10 percent and new home starts to increase 3 percent.

Private visioning adviser talks 'great bones' of downtown

Town Crier file photo
A family walks down Main Street in downtown Los Altos on Halloween. A consultant gave presentations recently on how to get more people to walk around downtown, and not just during holidays.

A retail consultant gave a series of presentations in Los Altos last week on ways to “create everybody’s favorite place” in downtown. Robin Abrams of Los Altos Forward invited Stephen Lawton, a Lafayette-based adviser for Main Street Property Services Inc., to make an assessment of downtown.

“There are great bones here,” Lawton said of the mid-century downtown and its decades-old trees. “There is potential, but it needs upgrades. There are lots of signs of decline and neglect.”

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