By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
The Tucumcari City Commission Thursday gave preliminary approval to two ordinances that would authorize economic funding aid for two businesses seeking to expand in the city.
One business, Buena Vista Labs, LLP, is operated by City Commissioner John Mihm, who abstained from voting on the ordinance involving his eyeglass lens-making business. Buena Vista will use the funds to help expand its lens-processing operations and expand its retail business, Mihm said.
The other is the Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory, which is receiving funds to help with an expansion in production of ricotta, Edam and Gouda cheeses.
Charles Krause, the cheese factory’s owner, said production of new lines should begin in 12 to 14 months.
Buena Vista Labs’ assistance, totaling $70,000, will come from Local Economic Development Act funds, which are raised locally through a one-eighth of 1 percent gross receipts tax, Pat Vanderpool, executive director of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation, said. The cheese factory’s funding, $200,000, will come from a state “closing fund” that provides aid beyond local funding for some projects to promote economic development, Vanderpool said.
Two recent recipients of LEDA aid, an inventor of a technologically advanced flashlight and a naturopathic physician, gave progress reports to the commission.
AdamNichols of Rugged, Inc., which will manufacture Firelight, a multi-function flashlight for emergency first-responders and some outdoor enthusiasts, presented in slides many of the features of the new product, and said a prototype will be available soon. Features of the flashlight include construction that will allow it to be used as a hammer without affecting the threads for assembling the device and taking it apart, USB ports so the flashlight can also charge cell-phones and other features that he said were proprietary but would make the flashlight a survival tool.
Rugged, Inc., received $50,000 in LEDA aid in January to help in product planning and design.
Dale Harapat, the naturopathic doctor, said he has set up his Mariposa Herbs shop in Tucumcari, and has said about 100 customers had visited his shop at 2101 First St., in its first five days of business.
He established the store in late March.
His shop sells medicinal herbs, as well as locally made scented soaps, lotions and lip balms.
Harapat said that in Tucumcari, he consults patients in herbs; naturopathy; iridology, measuring health through the iris of the eye; and massage.
“Herbal medicine is a rich part of our history” in New Mexico, he said, especially among Hispanics.
Harapat has operated Mariposa Herbs in Las Vegas for 20 years and said he is “excited by our response in Tucumcari.”