As Netflix, NBCUniversal and other film companies settle in New Mexico, many of the state’s 155,000 small businesses are wondering how to ride the revenue wave flowing into the state. The U.S. Small Business Administration can help. Studies show small business clients who receive more than three hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased growth.
Steven and Claudia Huchting, owners of Rangewood Reclaimers in Albuquerque have seen sales double as the film industry grows in New Mexico. The owners stock reclaimed vintage circa wood found in rural areas that is now being used to build realistic movie sets. Their unique product is attracting customers in the film industry as well as contractors, remodelers, homeowners, professionals, interior designers, architects and creative artisans.
Because the business was such a unique operation, the Huchtings sought advice from the experts at SCORE, a resource partner powered by the SBA.
“Our business is actually overseen by SCORE mentor, Robert Grebe,” said Steven. “Every major decision we make goes through him to make sure it’s feasible and that we have the right product and pricing. We have benefitted substantially from having a SCORE mentor.”
“This is a great time in our state to take advantage of opportunities to work with the film industry, including providing food services, transportation services and shopping for the film crews and talent flocking to the area,” said Stephanie Skaggs, SCORE Albuquerque Chapter President.
The Huchtings started Rangewood to preserve New Mexico’s history and culture. Steven points out they are not a demolition company. They carefully dismantle old buildings piece by piece to preserve the wood and control the take down and removal. They are known for leaving minimal impact to the environment.
“New Mexico is becoming a Little Hollywood,” said Claudia who also provides hair and make-up services for film stars. “We are busy all the time.”
Claudia handles the company’s social media accounts and says they have a huge following on Instagram that monitors the company’s adventures in gathering products in rural New Mexico. Although other companies can make wood look old, the Huchtings provide a niche product that provides the realism many films want. For the Huchtings, the real story is in the wood, not the movie.
“We are so blessed to be a part of the rich history and culture of New Mexico,” said Steven. “There is not a piece of wood in our warehouse under 50 years old, and that does not have story that follows it,” he said.
Steven added, “I can’t say enough about SCORE. Robert continues to steer us in the right direction, helping us avoid costly mistakes, and further define our target audience. We recently opened our doors to everyone who is looking for architectural salvage and antique wood. I think SCORE is a phenomenal entity.”
The SBA funds Resource Partners throughout the state that are ready to assist any small business owner.
SCORE has a network of experienced entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate executives and managers, who are trained volunteers that help small business owners develop their own path to success by accessing one-on-one mentoring, workshops, Q&A sessions, and national online resources. Call 505-248-8232 or visit www.SCORE.org.
New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network has business experts at 16 locations in the state. Call 505-224-5250 or visit www.nmsbdc.org.
WESST Women’s Business Center specializes in providing services to address the unique needs of women entrepreneurs. They provide individual counseling at six locations across the state. Call 800-GO-WESST or visit www.wesst.org.
New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve Members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. Each client has the opportunity to work directly with a business counselor. Call 505-383-2401 or visit www.nmdvs.org.
The SBA New Mexico District Office led by Director John Garcia is also able to assist entrepreneurs with the full range services offered by the SBA, including connecting clients with any of the resource partners or lenders. Call 505-248-8225 or visit www.sba.gov/nm.
Justin Crossie is the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Central Region, serving Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.