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Despite challenges, some businesses are expanding

Gene Grant hosts the iCount NM Tiny Census Concert at The Podcast Factory NM. The business is located at 1330 San Pedro NE in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of The Podcast Factory Nm)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mark Aragon and Nick Layman are betting that Burqueños have stories they want to share.

And they want to be the ones to help.

The duo recently launched The Podcast Factory NM, which Aragon describes as a one-stop-shop for podcasting.

“We’re basically a podcast for rent,” he told the Journal.

Aragon said the company provides services ranging from studio rentals to complete production of podcasts and livestreams.

The idea for the company arose after Aragon and Layman repeatedly heard people express interest in starting a podcast – but not knowing where to start.

“They know they want to get that message across but they start to do it and they get overwhelmed because they don’t have the equipment or the internet is not very good so you get choppy content,” Layman said. “We’re here to help bridge that.”

Aragon and Layman both come from communication backgrounds. Aragon said he worked as a public information officer for the Albuquerque Police Department while Layman got his start at KUNM in the early 2000s. The two have since worked together to produce livestreams and podcasts on topics ranging from MMA fighting to the Mexican cartels.

Though the business opened in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Layman said he still thinks it’s a good time to pursue the venture.

“There’s a lot more people watching livestream content and podcasts and other things like that,” he said.

Podcasts are also let people share their interests and help others learn, Layman continued.

“If someone is really good at talking I think they should have a podcast. Share the gift of what you have.”

Aragon said he has also spoken to churches and other organizations whose leaders are interested in finding a new platform to share their message.


We’re two months into the virus pandemic and business casualties are beginning to add up.

Some of the permanent closures came soon after the virus was declared a pandemic – like recently opened Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon, which announced its permanent closure March 23. Others, though, held on until this month before locking up for good.

Here’s a run down of some businesses that closed permanently in May:

Sal-E-Boy’s Pizzeria : Rio Rancho’s Sal-E-Boy’s Pizzeria permanently closed on May 10, after 38 years in business, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“I’m touched by the love this community has shown me and this business,” the post read. ” It’s the loyal customers that kept us going for all these years.”

Cinemark Movies West: When New Mexican movie theaters resume operations, the long-standing theater at 9201 Coors NW will not be joining.

A spokesperson with the theater confirmed that it “will not reopen as it is nearing the conclusion of its lease term.”

The company said the closure was “normal” and did not say how many jobs will be permanently lost.

Sweet Tomatoes: The national soup and salad buffet chain announced May 8, that all 97 of its locations will not be reopening. The chain has two Albuquerque locations, one at 4901 San Mateo NE and the other at 10126 Coors NW.

The Last Call: The owner posted on social media Thursday that the Downtown location closure is permanent.

Odds and ends

Medical cannabis dispensary R. Greenleaf is expanding its Coors location, according to a news release. The location, at 5201 Ouray NW, will be 3,200 square feet and employee up to 15 people, the release said.

R. Greenleaf operates five dispensaries across New Mexico with plans to open two more locations this year, including a location in Roswell which will feature a drive-through window.

Dutch Bros Coffee, the Oregon-based coffee chain, is planning to open a second New Mexico location, according to a spokeswoman with the company.

The second location will be on Rio Rancho Blvd. in Rio Rancho and construction will begin soon, spokeswoman Rilynn Davis said.

The store is aiming to be open in early 2021, she said.

Dutch Bros announced its first New Mexico location in early March.

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