Two for the Floor
Armstrong's finds two locations are better than one. Plus news for food lovers, Western Bank celebrates a century, Junga Juice squeezes out new sites, and more.
Spotlight on. . .
Armstrong's Floor & Wall owners Duane and Lisa Rigg got into business on the ground floor. "Duane is a third-generation flooring installer," Lisa Rigg says. "He started as a small boy, laying flooring with his granddad."
The business has expanded and been handed down through the generations since Brian Armstrong founded the original store in Deming in the 1950s, Riggs says. Armstrong sold the company to Duane Rigg's parents, Saundra and Larry Rigg, in the 1970s. In 1991, the fresh-out-of-college younger Riggs decided to make Silver City their home and established a store there. And when Duane's parents decided to retire in July 2006, Lisa and Duane Rigg bought them out, expanding their flooring empire to both stores.
Lisa Rigg, who co-owns Armstrong Flooring in Silver City and Deming with her husband, Duane Rigg, shows some of the variety of carpet samples the company sells, installs and services.
Operating two stores helps Armstrong's compete on price, Lisa Rigg says, and boasting a 6,000-square-foot showroom/warehouse in both locations is also a plus. "It gives us an important niche, as we have the room to carry a lot of stock on hand and are ready for installation."
Having a long-tenured, knowledgeable sales staff is important in the flooring business, she says. "You have to help the customer through the process," she emphasizes. "When I'm a consumer, I find it frustrating when the salesperson doesn't know important facts about the product. Flooring is an important purchase! People are spending a significant amount of money, and the product will live with them for years, so it's even more important that they get the right kind of flooring and the job is done right."
Both stores are located in strong and growing communities, she says. Growth in new residential and commercial building, along with a surge of renovating relocators, have contributed to Armstrong's success in the past few years.
"There are a lot of people moving into both areas, Silver and Deming, doing wonderful things to their homes. They are improving their homes, putting in new floors, or building additions. And the new housing going in is also very good for us. Every year, we grow," Lisa Rigg says.
Armstrong sells all varieties of flooring products–carpets, ceramic tile, hardwood, laminate and vinyl floorings and even area rugs–both residential and commercial. Rigg says there was a push toward hardwood flooring in 2006, but that laminate flooring has been steadily gaining market share over the past three years.
"People love it for its affordability and ease of installation," she adds, "and the fact that they can even pick it up and install it in a new residence."
Flooring products are always changing, always improving, she says, with fashion, durability and stain resistance at the top of the list. "There's always something new coming out to serve the customer better." And with new products comes updated training, she says, for the Riggs and their installation crews and sales staff.
Four years ago, Armstrong's added carpet, upholstery and area rug cleaning to its business. "It's to help customers maintain the beauty and condition of their products," Lisa Rigg says. Crews go out to homes and do on-site carpet and upholstery cleaning, and customers can bring their area rugs into either of the Armstrong showrooms, where they are cleaned locally in the company's warehouses.
Rigg says much of Armstrong's business is repeat, with loyal customers coming back over the course of many years.
And Armstrong travels far and wide from its two home bases, she says. "We go to Lordsburg and Playas, Buckhorn, Cliff. We do a lot these days in the Mimbres, and even out to Glenwood and Reserve."
January is always a busy and exciting time. "We're getting ready to go to the buying conventions in Dallas," Rigg says of herself and her co-owner husband. "We get so charged, seeing all that's new and getting great deals on new product lines. Also, we set our goals for the year, so that's always energizing."
The last six months of 2006, Rigg says, were focused on the takeover of the Deming store and integrating their business. "We had to systematize that store like our Silver City store," she says. "Now we have linked the computer system, and that has been incredible! What a plus!"
Having two coordinated bases of operation allows the Riggs to pull employees, products and resources from both locations, she says, improving customer response time and having even more inventory at their fingertips.
"We're ready to hit the ground running in 2007," she says. "We're ready to run our race!"
Armstrong's Floor & Wall, at 2550 N. Silver Street in Silver City (388-3149) and 1220 S. Columbus Hwy. in Deming (546-2643), is open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and most Saturdays. 10 a.m.-12 noon.
Pots, Pans and More, a cookware, housewares and restaurant supply store, has opened at 314 N. Bullard St. in Silver City. Owner Mary Nixon relocated from Indianapolis in October. Hoping to satisfy both home chefs and professionals, Nixon has stocked her store with everything from old-style champagne glasses to utensils and pans for restaurant use. Her sister, currently living in Nevada but hoping to relocate to Silver City soon, runs a restaurant-supply store through which Nixon has gotten much of her inventory. Pots, Pans & More is open Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Silver City eatery China Gate has opened on Hwy. 180 in the former Double Eagle restaurant building. Owner Jimmy Ho also owns and operates a Chinese restaurant in Montana.
And adding to the local wonton madness, Golden Star Chinese Fast Food is open at 1602 Silver Heights Blvd. (Hwy. 180).
If Italian grub is more your taste, don't forget to watch for Spaghetti Western's re-opening mid-January as Spaghetti Western Mercato and Deli Italiani, an Italian market and deli.
The Geronimo restaurant in Silver City is also getting a new name, La Familia.
Deming food lovers will want to take a fresh look at Pepper's Supermarket, 812 E. Florida. General manager Mark Schultz says the new produce manager, Adam Palmer, has orchestrated a "reset" of the entire produce department.
A new outdoor performance venue and parking area is coming to Silver City's downtown, in the area behind Domino's Pizza on Bullard Street. The New Mexico Economic Development Department and the Department of Finance and Administration awarded $200,000 for the Big Ditch Park Plaza. The funding will go toward design plans and development of the project, which will turn three vacant, overgrown lots into an outdoor performance area that will double as parking space. MainStreet will provide matching funds for the project by purchasing three lots at 7th Street and old Main Street through the assistance of an anonymous donor and the property owners. Work could begin as early as this summer, according to Silver City MainStreet manager Frank Milan.
Anniversaries, 1 to 100
Western Bank, 330 Hwy. 180 West in Silver City and 204 E. 4th St. in Lordsburg, is celebrating 100 years in business. The bank opened its Silver City branch in May 2003, after 96 years in Lordsburg where it was founded and the main office still operates. The bank was first chartered as 1st National Bank in Lordsburg in 1907, when Lordsburg was part of Grant County in the territory of New Mexico, pre-dating statehood. The bank initially was chartered with $25,000, and now holds more than $100 million in assets and has more than $10 million in capital, serving southwestern New Mexico and eastern Arizona. Western Bank will celebrate its centennial with special events all year, honoring a different segment of customers each month. In January, the bank's longest account holders will be feted with a special celebratory reception.
Mouse of All Trades in Pinon Plaza, Silver City, has just celebrated one full year under its new owners, DOCUmation, Inc. Manager Kim Dibble invites customers old and new to come in and see the store's new and improved layout, which emphasizes full-service copying, including self-serve, and all aspects of business services, along with laminating, document creation, scanning, carbonless forms, faxing and FedEx pick-up. The business also sells a wide range of paper and customized photo gifts. A public PC lets customers check email, create documents and print. Devon Carlson is the office's production coordinator. Mouse also has expanded its hours: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Levi Hermann has bought the Gila Theater in downtown Silver City, closing on the property at the end of October. Though the new owner was too busy to talk about his plans for the property, it is noted he has experience with renovating similar properties in Bend, Ore., California and Florida. Hermann's other projects have included a combination of apartments and small retail storefronts.
A new page
Desert Blossom Books, 117 E. College Ave. in Silver City, has added magazines to its business mix. Kim Polanco, who owns the store with her husband Larry, reminds people that the store will custom-order books for book club reading lists and sell them to book club members at a 10 percent discount.
Going, going, GONE!
Long John Silver's, 212 S. Hwy. 180, has slipped the hook! The long-established Silver City eatery has closed and a posted sign apologizes for any inconvenience. Loyal customers are asked to look for an opening at a new local location in 2007.
And Silver Cooks, 215 W. Yankie St., closed at the end of 2006, and will sell off remaining inventory with a big sale in January. Bill Nolde's adjoining Flowerings shop will expand into the space, utilizing the additional square footage to showcase the silk and dried flower aspect of his business.
Jaan, an Indian restaurant at 1120 Commerce Drive in Las Cruces, has abruptly closed, its owners skipping back "over the pond" to Jolly Old England, leaving creditors standing at the door. It appears an Italian restaurant will soon open on the site.
And say adios to La Paz Imports on Calle de Guadalupe in Mesilla. The gaily colored import store and coffee bar plans to close.
Small Business Workshop
The Small Business Development Center in Silver City will host the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department's Gross Receipts Tax Workshop Jan. 31, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in WNMU's Global Resource Center, Room ABC. $10, limited seating, 538-6320.
More Room for Cats!
Better Life Pet Foods, 365 Avenida de Mesilla in Las Cruces, has expanded its feline boarding facilities, according to owner Kat (yes, Kat!) Lacey. The store sells Sherpa brand pet beds and other pet products, pet nutritional supplements and the largest selection of all-natural pet products in the area, according to manager James Naylor. Perhaps proving that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Lacey is the sister of Doug Lacey, owner of the Pet Food Annex, a.k.a. Pet Health Alternatives, the healthy pet food and products business in Pinon Plaza in Silver City.
Junga Juice, a company selling fruit and vegetable smoothies, fresh juices and other beverages and treats, will open in Las Cruces in February, according to partner-owners Joel Zarr and Daryl Voss. Voss used to own Southwest Abstract and Title in Las Cruces. Zarr and Voss bought the juice company, founded in Missoula, Mont., and plan to take it nationwide with franchises. There currently are Junga Juice stores in Missoula and Bozeman, Mont., and three in Boise, Idaho. In addition to the store at 3961 E. Lohman, the partners say other stores are opening soon in Albuquerque and in Yuma, Ariz. A second Las Cruces location also will open in the near future, they say.
Kevin Key, son of Jack Key Motor Group founder Jack Key, is opening Jack Key Nissan at 1801 S. Main St. in Las Cruces. The original Jack Key Motor Group, a Chrysler, Jeep and Kia dealership, has been in business in Las Cruces for 21 years, and will remain at 1840 N. Main St. The company also has dealerships in Deming and Alamogordo. The younger Key's Nissan dealership has broken ground at the new site and plans to open its doors this summer.
In The Mall
'Tis the season to shop at a discount at Mesilla Valley Mall, which will hold its Winter Clearance & Sidewalk Sale Jan. 12-15. While there, check out new businesses Cell Tex, an Alltel wireless phone dealer, and Wet Seal, selling hip teen apparel.
Business Exposure is a monthly column that focuses on local business from all angles. Each issue spotlights a featured Southwest New Mexico business, and updates ongoing business items of interest. Feel free to suggest business topics for the column, and let us know about your own business' changes and newsworthy events; send to email@example.com.