A drone might be handy, in these pandemic times, to slowly drift along high above Corrales Road to look down on what businesses are in, what out, what pending, etc. But, a car must do. The long-debated and awaited medical cannabis retail shop via TopShelf, aka Southwest Organic Producers, or SWOP, is still not open at 4604 Corrales Road in an end space in the former Kim Jew building.

But there are tiny signs of progress. The building itself is still not sold, but SWOP reported on its website October 9 that it had “just started harvesting our first couple of harvests. The results are in and they’re testing better than ever.” Cannabis for SWOP is being grown now in Corrales at 379 Camino de Corrales del Norte, under the guidance of Spencer Komadina. It comprises three greenhouses.

Though the site development plan application for the dispensary was approved by the Village Planning and Zoning Commission back in November, in July of this year assorted hoops still required jumping through, or what P&Z administrator Laurie Stout described soon thereafter as “applicable state and federal agencies on their specific requirements.”

Two new businesses, Corrales Teas and More at 3923 Corrales Road, and Shelby At Home, 4448 Corrales Road, are holding their own during the pandemic. As Corrales Teas’ owner Janelle Boyle put it, “We were about to open when the pandemic hit, so officially we opened May 15.” Boyle and her boyfriend own the store, which sells “fair trade” teas, essential oils, CBD products and items made by local crafters, including aprons, bags and purses. Boyle ran two spas for 20 years in San Diego, spas that included tea offerings, then divorced and moved to New Mexico about three years ago.

The shop features an oxygen bar, a concept which Boyle explained first popped up in the 1970s at airports, in particular to relieve customer hangovers and jet lag. For 1$ per minute, 15 minutes being the norm, “customers breathe purified, scented, oxygen through a nasal hose.”

You may choose from a variety of fragrances, displayed on what Boyle called a “smell wall.” Corrales Teas’ website, https://www.corralestea.com/, further explains that “We use an industrial concentrator (non-medical) machine that filters out nitrogen and other atmospheric gases to produce oxygen that is about 85 percent pure. The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen.”

Coming soon after a final inspection, is an actual tearoom, where customers can enjoy both tea and coffee, as well as a line of chocolates, to be added to the menu. Closed Sundays, the shop is open weekdays 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays. Call 619 438-4600 to be certain of hours. Masks are required.

Shelby Hohsfield, of Shelby At Home, who grew up in Corrales, has owned Lorenco’s Hair Salon on Alameda Boulevard with her mom, Cindy Kokurek, for 16 years. Both are experts in permanent cosmetics, as in eyebrows, eyelashes, even lips, that in essence are tattoos, but much less permanent than those. About five years ago Hohsfield decided to add to her output a new online venture, selling native American jewelry and her own paintings, as well as a clothing line.

Today Shelby At Home is part online, and part in person, dealing with pandemic restrictions. Her gallery and boutique recently hosted a pop-up opening the weekend of October 16. And she plans another in time for Christmas. She offers custom paintings of people, places and critters you may hold dear, as well as some self-help videos, along with the clothing and jewelry. As she posted on social media, “These are the life experiences and everyday challenges of myself trying to find my inner rock star while inspiring others to hold steadfast on their mission towards internal happiness.” See http://www.shelbyathome.com.

At Mercado de Maya, Ambiente is “temporarily closed” again due to the increased risk of COVID-19, Chris Windisch said October 18. Meanwhile, Frame-n-Art at 3563 Corrales Road, owned by the Derr family, officially closed down September 30, via this message on social media: "Thank you to all our wonderful customers over these many years. We have some bittersweet news. We are retiring and closing Frame-n-Art. Michael is going to focus more on his artwork and Suanne and John will be hitting the highways in their RV.”

For over 20 years, in addition to the framing business, the business supported the Young in Art show with Corrales Elementary School. Carrying on in these pandemic times, more or less, is Corrales Fine Arts, the gallery owned by oil painter Barb Clark and paper sculptor Susana Erling. The shop at 4685 Corrales Road is open Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and posted on its door are these sentences: “1. Mask on, please; 2. Only two at a time; 3. No cursing!; 4. OK, you can curse….” Call 280-1896 to be sure the gallery is open.

Also adjusting to the times is Beth Waldron, artist and wedding/social photographer installed at the end of Mercado de Maya in the former Moon & Dove spot. Waldron, former geologist, is open only by appointment, for photo sessions. She opened up Beth Waldron Studios in mid-November. Information can be found by calling 633-5740.

The spot formerly occupied by artist Laura Balombini at 4436 Corrales Road, Del Rio Plaza, now has a paper sign on the door reading “Meraki Studio Heart, Soul, Hair. (Donna’s New Salon Studio.)” No word back from Donna af ter calling 508-7063.

More mysterious, however, is what appears to be a school or a pandemically-inspired teaching pod perched where assorted coffee shops have struggled to operate in the same complex at 4436 Corrales Road. On a visit this month, kids and one adult could be glimpsed and heard. The outside patio has tables and chairs but is closed off by a low fence and assorted potted plants.

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