The ups and downs and in and outs of Corrales businesses and owners is as fluid as ever, perhaps even more so given the pandemic. Some places are slowly reopening, under the latest guidelines from Governor Lujan Grisham. Others are moving largely online, at least for the foreseeable future.
A plan is under way to get signs reading “Mask Wearing Required for Entry” for Corrales businesses that request them. Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin and Mayor Jo Anne Roake are working on the idea to help proprietors gain compliance among their customers for an action still in place throughout the state. The sign wording has not yet been finalized.
Del Rio Plaza at 4436 Corrales Road has lost at least two tenants in recent months, with Laura Balombini moving her Red Paint Studio out, and Karleen Talbott of Talbott Auctions “reconstructing my business without a retail store front.” To contact Talbott email email@example.com.
Balombini has set up shop at her home, and recently participated in a project called Art Gone Viral, presented by Rio Grande Festivals. This essentially presented a lineup of artists, showing off their work online, and allowed sales as well as interaction with each one. http://www.riograndefestivals.com
As Balombini wrote, “Now that the gallery is empty, cleaned and closed, I settle back into my tiny studio work space in a garden shed in the back yard. Houses in New Mexico very seldom have basements or attics so storage space is at a premium. Luckily many collectors and friends purchased work on sale as I made videos as I was packing up the gallery… so less to store.”
For the time being Balombini does not plan to take on a new physical studio. As she put it, “This virus could have us in a muddle for quite a long time so planning anything long term is quite difficult and not prudent.” You can contact her regarding paintings and other works via redpaintstudio art@gmail. Her reimagined women’s clothing line is for sale on Etsy under Coraline’s Closet.
Repercussions of the pandemic’s sensible self-isolating dictates persuaded Denise Stramel and Keith Buderus, owners of the Corrales bed-and-breakfast, Chocolate Turtle, that “the hospitality business was not coming back any time soon,” and so they sold the building that was Chocolate Turtle to a private homeowner. They decided it was not sensible to “stay in business for another six years in order to make up for one lost year,” and so will move to Rio Rancho, close enough to stay involved in Corrales activities, including the Harvest Festival, still scheduled for September 26 and 27.
One thing the pandemic apparently has stimulated is an interest in cooking, although Jane Butel of Jane Butel Cooking Classes reports that she hasn't given a class since March 12. She did “go ahead with face masks for the barbecue class with only four participants, instead of two classes of 12 last year.” A July “Chiles and Chocolate” class has had a number of cancellations also, “but I have decided to go ahead and give it.” Butel says she “honors any class to be rescheduled with no fee.”
Even a long planned cooking and eating trip to Oaxaca, Mexico rescheduled for September 15-21 has taken a hit. “All ten of the Corrales people who signed up have cancelled, but I still have five people and maybe will get a few more,” said Butel. Contact her at 243-2622 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another pursuit revved up in pandemic weeks is biking. Stevie Kuenzler of Stevie’s Happy Bikes took some time off after the recent deaths of his parents, but now is happy to tackle your broken down bike, or possibly even find you a reasonable replacement.
“My main focus now is on my family, on my own biking, and on helping people out as I can.” He says he is not intent on drumming up big business, and is enjoying time with his 12-year-old. And, he points out, due to the surge in biking, the biggest regional supplier of bike parts, based in Denver, is “completely sold out of everything.” All they stock is made in China.
However, working out of his home garage, Kuenzler says he still is well supplied with gear. All work must be done by appointment, all payments done in cash or by check. You can call or text him at 450-8366.
Pandemically homebound people also are looking around at their “stuff,” and wondering if grandmother’s old china cabinet is worth keeping, especially as grown children seem less interested in things than their elders were. Consignment shop Et Cetera’s owner Beth Salazar said she “couldn’t wait to reopen June 1” and had been sanitizing and cleaning for hours ahead of time. Located at 4514 Corrales Road, Et Cetera is now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 a .m. to 3 p.m., with Wednesdays open by appointment only. Call 899-0287. Closed Sundays.
Prized Possessions’ jeweler Janet Pugh reports self-isolation has resulted in her damaging a tendon in her leg, but more positively, producing a major inventory of items, including 168 pairs of her button jewelry. “We were down to 50,” when COVID-19 hit. Pugh’s daughter Julie DeVault, with whom she runs the business, thinks a show like Downton Abbey is good for business, and that younger people do discover that Ikea furniture falls apart. “Some of them realize that one good piece is worth having.”
DeVault is sending out photos of new jewelry by Pugh, and also doing sales involving regular trips to the Corrales Post Office. “I wait in the car until the idiots with no masks leave,” she said, clearly irritated not only by that, but also by the lack of financial support for small businesses like theirs. “Fifty-two businesses owned by people I know in Albuquerque have closed, maybe forever.”
The “little loans” that do come in are high interest, according to DeVault, and prices charged small businesses for masks and hand sanitizers are higher than those for the big box stores. DeVault also reported Prized Possessions had been inundated with calls from scammers, with calls from supposed customers wanting major discounts, and such.
While the shop at 4534 Corrales Road may reopen this month, the notion of opening and then having to close down again with a resurgence of the virus is daunting. Both Pugh and DeVault are grateful for their regular customers, even those from out of state, however, and will continue to sell through the US Mail. Get in touch at 899-4800.
Eateries like Corrales Bistro are entertaining customers judiciously on their outdoor deck, while coffee people are now sitting outdoors imbibing at Candlestick’s Coffee Roasters, but Las Ristras Restaurant in that same location, at 4940 Corrales Road, thus far has shown no signs of reopening.
Alas, ExNovo reports the “amended patio order” laid out by the governor May 26 does not cover them, but still, Ex Novo Corrales celebrated its one year anniversary May 24, and is collaborating with a Brooklyn brewery to raise funding for beer industry types affected adversely by the pandemic. They remain open noon to 6 p.m. for beer pickup.
Corrales Bosque Gallery at 4685 Corrales Road in Mercado de Maya has revamped its online shop substantially. Take a look at https://corralesbosquegallery.com/store. Their website suggests a possible reopening after June 15. Thus far, its neighbor, Corrales Fine Arts, appears closed. Call 818-7919 for more info. Ambiente looks as if it is getting ready to reopen in the Mercado but no confirmation as yet.
Two large “For Sale” signs have gone up fairly recently, one in front of the former Kim Jew Photography studio building on Corrales Road, which had housed assorted small businesses in the past months. The name on the sign is Roger Cox and Associates, with Will Stribling noted as well. A new sign is in place where the former thrift shop sat, too.
A definite new business is installed where Coddiwomple once vended its wares. Coddiwomple’s Kristen Wilcox-Hatch said she sold much of her inventory to Circle Round, which now inhabits her former space. Coddiwomple is selling entirely online at https://coddiwompleshoppe.com or by phone at 897-8109.
Circle Round, opened on or about April 15 by a therapist who had worked with Wilcox-Hatch, then was hit by the pandemic, then reopened May 16. Timing is all. See http://www.circleroundnm.com/ Info via 897-7004. Closed Sundays and Mondays.