Gov. Lujan Grisham visits local businesses to highlight state investments in homegrown success stories
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday visited local businesses in Albuquerque that have received financial assistance from her state administration as part of the governor’s efforts to celebrate and support homegrown New Mexico businesses as the state begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Bueno Foods, the governor highlighted a $500,000 state Local Economic Development Act job-creation grant that will help the family-owned producer and manufacturer expand its storage and manufacturing capacity to better distribute New Mexico chile and other products throughout the U.S. The expansion will include a new 25,000-square-foot freezer warehouse at its manufacturing campus on 4th St. SW. Bueno Foods is slated to begin hiring an additional 49 employees upon the conclusion of the expansion in 2022.
Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Bueno Foods has also been a sterling community public health advocate over the course of the pandemic, partnering with the state and private sector entities to host more than 40 testing events for employees and the South Valley community – administering more than 4,600 COVID-19 tests – and hosting pop-up vaccine clinics for workers.
“Bueno Foods has stepped up in a remarkable way during the pandemic, not only enacting COVID-safe practices to protect their workers but also making themselves a resource for the local community,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I’m proud the state can likewise step up for them by helping them expand operations and hire more New Mexicans. My administration will continue to partner with as many homegrown businesses as we can to accelerate local economic recovery and expansion.”
The governor also on Monday met with the founders and employees of Electric Playhouse, the locally-created immersive and interactive experience venue that opened in early 2020, only to be forced to close by the onset of the pandemic a few weeks later. The governor toured the facility as the company prepares to reopen to the public in early June, at which point they will employ 50 New Mexican workers.
Electric Playhouse received a $30,000 small business CARES Act grant from the state in December 2020, helping the company rehire workers and begin building back operations. The start-up also received more than $500,000 through the New Mexico film tax credit program as part of a space-themed visual arts and video game project developed in partnership with the New Mexico Film Office, another infusion of relief cash that helped prepare for reopening.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see an innovative New Mexico start-up that has already made a significant mark in the community get back on its feet,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I hope the assistance the state has made available to them will help them succeed and indeed thrive as they reopen to New Mexicans, look to hire more local workers and potentially expand. I’m really excited for New Mexican families to get back out there safely and have fun experiences at local businesses like this one.”