At a time when many people are thinking about retirement, Mike Hicklin, 67, shows no signs of slowing down.
The owner and operator of the NAPA Auto Parts store for 29 years, Hicklin has seen numerous businesses close down and move away.
“I just hated looking at empty buildings on our town’s main road that could be put to good use,” Hicklin said.
Hicklin, and his wife Rachael, started looking for something new to bring to town.
What they decided on was an old-fashioned deli and ice cream parlor, so they converted the former Pizza Hut restaurant building on Route 66 into the CornerStone Deli.
And opening a family run business gave them the perfect opportunity to move their son back home to Tucumcari.
“Ruben had moved to Chicago about seven years ago, but his job and the commute left him with little to no family time,” Rachael Hicklin said. “Now he has time to spend with his twin two-year-old girls and his seven-year-old son.
“Mike and I own the business, but Ruben is the one that manages and runs it,” Rachael Hicklin said.
Opened in October of last year, the deli serves a full menu of specialty sandwiches from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week.
Employing a staff of 11, it is also one of the few places in New Mexico where you can purchase frozen custard, the Hicklins said.
“We use only the best ingredients, to produce the freshest, best tasting product possible,” Hicklin said.
“We’re trying to help bring this town back to life by providing jobs and services that aren’t available here anymore,” Hicklin said.
With the lunch menu taken care of, the Hicklin team decided that breakfast was the next project that needed to be tackled.
After months of research and planning, they opened the CornerStone Donut shop, across the street from the deli.
“We opened on June 6, which was a good day because it just happened to be National Donut Day. I didn’t even know about it. But any day that a new business opens in town is a good day, Mike Hicklin said.
Starting at three in the morning, Mike Hicklin and his crew of three, prepare dozens of fresh baked donuts.
“At full capacity we can make 50 dozen donuts an hour, each with the same great quality and in over 30 different styles,” Mike Hicklin said. “We’re not there yet, but we have had a lot of interest in our product.”
When not working at one of his three business, Mike Hicklin is active in the Mother Road Rally and the Elks Lodge, and serves on the board of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. and is chairman of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. He has also been a volunteer firefighter and become a volunteer in 1988.