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RR minority entrepreneurs tell of experience

Keiosha Miller

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Three minority-owned business owners in Rio Rancho said they feel supported by the community, business organizations and city government.

Magic Mirror Photo Booth NM rents out mirror photo booths, bouncy houses and more. Co-owner Keiosha Miller said Mayor Gregg Hull and Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce are supportive.

“The mayor does really well in trying to support what I do and in how to help business in the community,” she said.

“I think (the chamber) tries to stay active with every type of business, small or large,” Miller said.  “I think they try to make sure that businesses, minorities, from all aspects are promoted, and they try everything they can to help businesses stay afloat.”

Miller is also a part of a group of volunteers who represent the chamber to support the business community called the Ambassadors, according to the RRRC website.

“Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce is the leading business-support organization in Rio Rancho, Sandoval County and west Albuquerque. Minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs make up a significant portion of our membership and minority-owned businesses are the fastest-growing area of the chamber,” said Jerry Schalow, president and CEO of the chamber.

Over 50 percent of the chamber is made up of minority-owned businesses, he said.

“The chamber’s goal is to help business owners be successful in delivering a wide range of tools that includes mentoring, training, advocating and networking,” Schalow said.

Uncle T’s Sangwich shop co-owners Clinton Ellison III, left, and chef Thomas J. Montoya talk about the idea of opening a new restaurant in Rio Rancho; open since June, Uncle T’s has offered customers a unique take on the classic sandwich, as well as soups and small desserts.
(Stephen Montoya/ Rio Rancho Observer)

Uncle T’s Sangwiches, Stews and Coffee co-owner Clinton Ellison III also said the chamber is supportive.

“I think our experience has been very positive,” he said.

Ellison said the only thing Rio Rancho could improve on is inspiring more home-grown business owners, as well as shopping local.

“I grew up out here, I think we have our neighbors go down the hill too often,” he said.

The shop is at 1520 Deborah Road Suite O.

Rio Rancho president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Linda Townsend-Johnson said the NAACP provides a service to the community if someone feels there is any type of discrimination or inequity. She said the group has not had any businesses reach out to acquire their services in Rio Rancho.

Karen Johnson-Bey is the owner of K’Lynn’s Southern & Cajun Fusion at 4300 Ridgecrest Drive, Suite O.
Photo Amy Byres / Observer

Karen Johnson-Bey owns K’Lynn’s Southern & Cajun Fusion at 4300 Ridgecrest Drive, Suite O.

“I have lived in Rio Rancho since 1977 and we have nothing but awesome things to say. That is why we are still here,” she said.

Johnson-Bey said her customers have always been wonderful and they have been even more wonderful by supporting her business through the pandemic.



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