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It takes a Village to bolster pizza on the West Side

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Love Village Pizza but can’t make it out to Corrales? You are in luck.

The Corrales-born pizza restaurant opened a new location on the West Side two weeks ago.

Ashley Davidson, co-owner of the restaurant, said the owners have tried to keep the same feel as the Corrales flagship location, “even though it is a completely different (type of) building.”

The new pizza shop has a drive-through, a first for Village Pizza, and a small outdoor space with a shade fixture planned to be completed later in September. The restaurant faces east, and Davidson said it has “a terrific view.”

The restaurant specializes in pizza and salad. The new location has a pizza buffet and serves craft beers from 24 taps at its bar.

Of course, this isn’t its first foray into the city. Village Pizza once had a location on Rio Grande near Candelaria NW, but that spot closed earlier this year. The new location is at 3200 La Orilla NW, near the Flix Brewhouse.

Davidson said she wanted the new location to open up when the old location closed so that “it would seem more like a move rather than a closure, but the construction timing didn’t work out.”

Davidson said she plans to hire 40 employees.

Soft Surroundings

Soft Surroundings, a St. Louis-based boutique chain, is opening its first New Mexico location at ABQ Uptown in November. The store will hire 24 new people, including “beauty specialists.” (Courtesy of Soft Surroundings)

Ladies, get your mothers, your sisters, your daughters and your grandmothers. There is a new women’s boutique coming to ABQ Uptown.

Soft Surroundings, a St. Louis-based retailer, plans to open a roughly 4,000-square-foot shop in November.

“One thing that is pretty special about (Soft Surroundings) is that it caters to women of all ages,” said Jessica Conick, public-relations officer for Soft Surroundings.

The boutique chain has 53 stores nationwide and plans to open six more by the end of the year.

Most of the products offered are designed at the company headquarters in St. Louis, making the products exclusive to the chain, according to Conick.

This is the first Soft Surroundings location in New Mexico, but Conick said the retailer may look to expand in the state.

“We know we already have a huge fan base (in New Mexico) based on our catalog and web sales,” Conick said, adding that Soft Surroundings had received many requests for a New Mexico store from customers on social media. “This is just the beginning for (Soft Surroundings in New Mexico).”

Conick said the new store will hire roughly 20 employees and plans to hire locally. “We really love to dig in locally when we open a new store. We have a local boutique feel, and even though we are growing, we want to keep that.”

Conick said the store will have a grand opening celebration in November, at which it will give away gift bags full of apparel and beauty products to its first 100 customers.

Color Wheel Toys

Color Wheel Toys, a new local “pop-up” toy store on Washington just south of Lomas, is open from September through December and offers toys, crafts and candy. (Courtesy of Keri Piehl)

Here’s something fun: a pop-up toy store. Color Wheel Toys opened its doors for its first season on Friday.

The business plan, according to store owner Keri Piehl, is to open from September through December annually and close for the rest of the year. “It’s like the Halloween stores or (fireworks stands) that open every year, but for toys,” Piehl said.

Piehl is a Phoenix-born University of New Mexico graduate who has lived all over the country. When she returned to New Mexico from Portland, Ore., where she was a teacher, she decided to focus on volunteer and charity work. But the idea of opening a toy store kept tugging at her imagination. Piehl said, “I’ve been thinking about it for about 10 years, and it’s finally happening!”

So why a pop-up store instead of a permanent location? Piehl says she doesn’t want to give up her other interests: traveling, volunteering and community service. She also said she really didn’t want to have to spend “all day, everyday, forever” at the store, something that is often required of small-business owners.

Color Wheel Toys has a 1,000-square-foot space at 526 Washington NE, just south of Lomas. It will have a grand opening in mid-September. Piehl advises checking the store’s Facebook page for event details.

Color Wheel Toys specializes in arts, crafts and toys for kids, but it also has gadgets and fun stuff for the parents. “I’ve really always enjoyed creative and clever toys,” Piehl said.

In other news:

• Bonefish Grill at Coronado mall closed its doors on Aug. 14 after four years. The seafood chain is owned by Bloomin’ Brands, a Florida-based company that also owns Carraba’s Italian Grill and Outback Steakhouse.

• AT&T is debuting a new retail-store design near Cottonwood Mall. The grand opening celebration will be at 9 a.m. Thursday. The new store will offer entertainment centers and a more comfortable shopping experience, according to a news release. What it won’t have are checkout counters and cash registers. This will be the first newly designed AT&T store in the Southwest, according to the release.

• Nanami Noodles is closing after seven months of operation. The noodle restaurant, at 4959 Pan American NE near Century Rio 24 theaters, is planning to merge with the Plum Cafe, next door. The two restaurants are owned by Bryan Trieu, who owns Nanami Noodles, and his brother, Wyn Chao, who owns Plum Cafe. “Everyone loves noodles and everyone loves rice, so why not combine the two?” asked Nga Tran, Trieu’s wife and partner. Nanami closes its doors permanently today. Plum Cafe will also close for two weeks while it renovates to accommodate noodle service.

• Ross Dress For Less at Wyoming and Paseo del Norte NE has begun hiring and plans to open soon. To apply, visit