AZTEC — Service with a smile is standard fare at Sunshine Bakery and Deli.

Opened in summer 2011, the family-owned restaurant on Main Avenue was the second San Juan County business to receive a Customer Service Award from Four Corners Economic Development, a county-wide non-profit organization. The award was given by Christa Rommé, Four Corners Economic Development marketing coordinator, last week.

Run by mother and daughter Barbara and Marion Padilla with Nikki Martinez, the popular Aztec eatery whips up American and New Mexican breakfast and lunch six days each week.

"We see the face of Christ in everyone and treat people how we would like to be treated," Barbara Padilla said of her business' dedication to customer service.

Aztec High School students would know. The restaurant sees a lot of students during the lunch hour rush and has a basket by the register where handwritten tabs are kept if they were unable to pay. All the students eventually come in to pay what they owe, said Barbara Padilla.

"Customer service is a huge part of economic development, Rommé said.

"With this award, we wanted people to start looking for good service instead of expecting bad service around San Juan County. We're trying to change the perception that small towns have bad customer service by encouraging great service we know is here," Rommé said. "And Sunshine (Bakery and Deli) was a popular winner. Anyone who's been there just raves about how nice and friendly they are. I've talked to some people who say they just go in to talk with the women there, they're that friendly and make people feel welcome."

Roughly 60 Four Corners Economic Development partner organizations and member businesses can submit nominations for outstanding customer service. Rommé said her organization will award one county business each month and present a grand customer service award at the 4CED EDGE Awards banquet in October.

Sunshine "was nominated by the economic development advisory board to the city of Aztec. It was a really strong nomination," Rommé said. "They are an old Aztec family, which makes this that much more special."

Lunchtime regular, Kelly Eaves, an Aztec insurance agent, also values the restaurant's delicious food, especially the green-chili chicken enchiladas.

"I absolutely love their food -- it just tastes like home cooking. You feel like you're at Grandma's house," Eaves said. "Plus there's always somebody greeting you with a smile. It's so great to have a place like that in town. It's a fun place to go."

For more information on Four Corners Economic Development, call Christa Rommé at 505-566-3618. Sunshine Bakery and Deli, 119 N. Main Ave., can be reached at 505-333-2211.



James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.