‘Shop local’ is our challenge to you erver’s shop local challenge

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Over the last few weeks, the Observer has had the privilege to highlight several up-and-coming local businesses throughout Sandoval County.

Whether it is a new bistro, an apothecary or a coffee shop, it seems a rise in small business has hit our area at a steady rate. Although we have stated the dire need for big industries to locate here, the recent influx of small businesses has been a somewhat quiet indication that we have enough of what it takes to move forward economically, even when it is done one small step at a time.

Last year, Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Schalow said in an article that what makes a city unique is its small businesses. The Observer couldn’t agree more.

Rio Rancho and Sandoval County have become meccas for local breweries, health stores and unique cuisine.

With a recent social-media announcement from Maestas Development Group about the leasing of land on Northern Boulevard for a commercial center and NAI Maestas and Ward developing what will soon be Harrington Plaza at Westside and Unser Boulevards, it seems the future for new business is well underway.

Add all of this to plans for Los Diamantes development in Unit 10, which include a business park. Although it has not yet been determined how many businesses could fit into said park, it still gives us an indication of progress, and progress is what we so desperately need.

The Observer is also realistic enough to understand that there is still much to be done when it comes to offering everything Rio Ranchoans need and enjoy.

It is understandable that shopping local, which is important, is also not always feasible at this time. Many of us still go down the hill for items and services because they are not readily available here.

But on that note, we implore you — our readership —to make it a point to shop local for one week during the month to see if what we have locally can actually sustain your needs. This call to action is more than supporting local business; it is a way of gauging what we think is missing from our own backyard.

If you check around, you may discover that a Rio Rancho business has a service or item you’ve been getting in Albuquerque. This is the type of step that needs to be taken by all of us individually so we can cut our dependence on driving down the hill and across the river.

Our local businesses are counting on us to survive, and we should be able to survive because they exist.

Take the challenge and then feel free to contact the Observer to let us know what you think is missing or what great business you’ve just discovered.