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With the help of state funding, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm is expanding into a building near Downtown Albuquerque to grow its existing operations and try a few new things.
“By having a larger space, it allows us to make a bigger commitment to the farmers,” said Los Poblanos executive director Matt Rembe.
The New Mexico Economic Development Department announced Wednesday that it has pledged up to $250,000 through the Local Economic Development Act to help Los Poblanos expand its production capacity and create 24 new jobs over the next five years.
Rembe said this investment allows Los Poblanos not only to work more broadly with farmers around the state, but also lets the company experiment with new product lines, including craft spirits.
“Part of our mission is just to tell these rich stories about New Mexican culture,” Rembe said.
Like a lot of New Mexico hospitality businesses, Los Poblanos had a challenging 2020. On the retail side, Rembe said a lot of the stores Los Poblanos sells lavender lotions, oils and other products to saw limited sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Improbably, Rembe said Los Poblanos met its pre-pandemic sales targets, due in large part to an increased focus on e-commerce.
“That allowed us to keep the doors open across all the businesses at Los Poblanos,” Rembe said.
It also gave the company the ability to help the roughly three dozen farmers the company works with, many of whom were looking for consistent orders. But to do that, Rembe said Los Poblanos needed more space.
“Right now, we have more demand than supply,” he said.
Rembe said the company is moving its warehouse operations – which had been based in a smaller warehouse near Osuna Road and Edith Boulevard NE since before the pandemic began – to a larger historic building on 4th Street NW in the Wells Park neighborhood.
The new building will provide 5,000 square feet of production space and 4,000 square feet of warehouse capacity for inventory, food storage, and e-commerce, according to EDD.
Additionally, Rembe said the company is planning to purchase a still and make craft spirits in the new facility, using botanicals from around the state. Down the road, the building could house a retail storefront and taproom, adding to the cluster of breweries and distilleries already present in and around Downtown.
“The Downtown area, whichever part it is, gets revitalized one little project at a time,” Rembe said.
Rembe said the craft spirit side likely won’t launch until next year, but he already has some ideas. He said the focus will be on unique botanical flavors that showcase New Mexico’s agricultural story.
“Obviously there’s going to be something that has some lavender, because that’s a no-brainer,” Rembe said, laughing.