Small busines owners say they’re feeling the brunt of New Mexico’s shutdown

Laveta Brigham

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — As New Mexico marches deeper into it’s current two-week Covid-19 lockdown, many small businesses are preparing to make some very difficult decisions. However, some small business owners in Las Cruces are saying that so far the most telling aspect of the shutdown has been noticing […]

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — As New Mexico marches deeper into it’s current two-week Covid-19 lockdown, many small businesses are preparing to make some very difficult decisions.

However, some small business owners in Las Cruces are saying that so far the most telling aspect of the shutdown has been noticing which stores are being allowed to remain open for business as usual.

“I drove to pick up one of my kids and I noticed that Hobby Lobby was open and Dillard’s is open and many other stores that to me are not essential,” said Tenniel Salopek, owner of the Buffalo Swag Boutique and Spa.

RELATED STORY: New Mexico’s governor tightening restrictions on ‘big box’ stores

Stores that cater to female clients claim to be particularly worse off as they’re currently being kept alive solely by online sales.

“Not everybody wants to shop online though,” said Stephany Trego, owner of the Turquoise Teepee. “They want to feel the merchandise and try it on.”

And because of the timing, this current lockdown might be their last.

“This is our busiest time is right now,” said Salopek. “We have Small Business Saturday coming up. We have Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

It is a concern that, according to those small business owners, the corporate shops don’t seem to have to deal with.

“These big box stores and they have lawyers and they have teams that small businesses don’t,” said Salopek.

It is an issue that is not just about money.

With so many small business owners actually being Las Cruces born and raised, they worry that if their shops close for good it might hurt the community in the long term.

When the lockdown expires after the Thanksgiving holiday period, the governor has said her administration will re-evaluate the state’s situation.

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