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ABQ in a Box gets new owners

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Jesse Herron, left, and Michael Silva, show some of the holiday packages they sold after taking over ABQ in a Box. The two also own Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory. (STEPHEN MONTOYA/JOURNAL)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The start-up venture ABQ in a Box now has new owners, who are expanding the business from a seasonal to a year-round operation.

Originally started by University of New Mexico business student Kyle Thordahl a few years ago, ABQ in a Box was a way for Duke City residents to send some of New Mexico’s most unique items abroad to friends and family.

The new owners are Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory co-founders Jesse Herron and Mike Silva, who met with Thordahl earlier this year and offered to revive the business after Thordahl let it lapse.

The new business launched earlier this month and quickly sold out of holiday edition boxes for Christmas, Herron said.

“We interviewed Thordahl for a position a few years ago and on his résumé, it said ABQ in a Box was one of his business ventures,” Herron said. “When it came out, we were fans of it and thought it was so cool — in a sense kind of jealous because we didn’t think of it first.”

Herron said he and Silva were judges this year in an Anderson School of Management competition at the University of New Mexico, where where they caught up with Thordahl and asked if he would be interested in selling ABQ in a Box.

“He approached us several weeks after that, in early May, and we talked about the logistics of the company and essentially took it over,” Herron said.

Many of the items the new owners are offering are similar to what Thordahl was selling, Silva said.

“What makes this box different is we are using some local businesses that we have a relationship with … that know us, trust us, know our brand,” Silva said.

Some of the items featured in the holiday box included local salsa, bizcochitos from Rude Boy Cookies, a New Mexico-shaped cookie cutter, piñon coffee from Sol Rio Coffee and a piece of green chile fudge.

Silva said his mom has lived in Japan for 24 years, but longs for New Mexican cuisine.

“So every now and then, I would send her a box with salsa, green chile fudge, red chile blue corn potato chips, you know just a little taste of home,” Silva said. “After other people found out that we were doing this, they were excited because they didn’t have to spend half a day going around town looking for and picking items from God knows how many stores.”

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