Commentary: Local businesses that opened shop in 2020 deserve huge props

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Locally-owned businesses that opened shop right in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic deserve serious props.

They were smart to invest in their dreams in 2020, a dark time that otherwise showcased the devastating economic ruin caused by the pandemic.

After investing enough money to simply open their establishments’ doors, they proved to be more than the newest economic lifeline in a time where other business had to shut down forever. They also proved to be a vital avenue where customers could envision more normal times by shopping, eating and connecting.

Aside from taking the state’s COVID-19 safety policies seriously to help mitigate the spread of the virus, 2020 only gave them extra time to ensure they’re set up beautifully well into 2021 and beyond.

Rather than rush to open up for the spring, Sweet Bean Coffee Shop in downtown Aztec spent a good several months adding more creative flair in the form of dia de los Muertos-themed graffiti artwork before its Aug. 22 opening date.

The shop also spent that time brainstorming espresso flavors. By mid-September, they had 15 flavors and counting.

Sweet Bean Coffee Shop, located at 100 N. Main Ave. in downtown Aztec opened its doors on Aug. 22.

The Family Market in southeast Farmington started as a supermarket for that part of town, as well as a built-in pizzeria and Mexican restaurant.

Now with the ever-changing status with the COVID-19 restrictions and weather, it was primed to adjust accordingly — adding curbside pickup and DoorDash to the equation. And there’s still more to come, highlighted by a home delivery option and grocery items being added to the store’s DoorDash inventory.

Buell’s Fish Hooks in Farmington opened its doors on Nov. 13, just three days before the latest public health order went into effect.

While the inventory started coming in, owner Matt Buell spent the rest of that weekend putting together the store’s website and establishing a curbside pickup option for customers.

Buell's Fish Hooks owner Matt Buell opened up shop on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. The store's located at 3030 E. Main St. in Farmington.

Of course, this is just a few of the multiple local establishments that took the bold step of launching their businesses during a time of great economic uncertainty.

Situated in the northeast Farmington, one of the busier sections of town, Ice Age Frozen Yogurt & Coffee and Pocketstone Bakery & Cafe also garnered immediate interest.

Ice Age Frozen Yogurt & Coffee co-owner Tessa Lucero, seen here on Monday, July 13, 2020, organizes frozen yogurt toppings. Ice Age, located at 4005 E. Main St. in Farmington., opened for business on July 8, 2020.

These establishments were in decent enough financial shape going in to where they didn’t have to close completely at any point in 2020, and they garnered community interest and support — even if those customer influxes were just little spurts throughout the day.

They were in a position where they could actually brainstorm ways to enhance operations and customer experiences, and they didn’t have to automatically go into survival mode (thinking about tomorrow, this weekend, next weekend).

And with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines projected to be widely available by or before late 2021, these businesses could very well have their best days in front of them.

These new, locally-owned shops stayed the course, and they deserve your respect.

This is just the beginning for them.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and general news for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, mhollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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