Your dreams of wandering amidst artful clusters of carefully selected Southwestern home goods and desert flora – artisan donut in hand, indie rock in ear – have finally been answered. With the opening of Spur Line Supply Co. in Albuquerque’s Sawmill district, locals and visitors can enjoy the best of what nearby makers have to offer.
Ushered in on a tide of development efforts in the area, the “concept store” opened on September 1, as a joint venture between founder/entrepreneur Tess Coats and local hotel mogul Jim Long. Earlier this year, Long opened the nearby Hotel Chaco, with plans to build residential spaces in the near future. The hope is to draw a mix of visitors and Albuquerque natives to the Sawmill area with the help of local artists and business-owners.
Spur Line seemed to fit the bill. “We’re bringing [customers] things that are not already in our market, not already in this area, but also making this a shopping destination for locals and, of course, beyond that,” Coats said. “Because of our location, we have to think about the people that are visiting Old Town, or staying in the hotels nearby… and giving them an experience that’s like, ‘wow, so this is local product.’”
Since Coats’ launched her first business, a mobile boutique in an Airstream van called the Spectacle Caravan, she’s graduated to a more ambitious project with Spur Line Supply Co. And the original Airstream has a place of honor – inside the store. It’s still filled with cute vintage pieces, but it’s just one of the many distinct “concepts” Coats has carefully curated. Each area of the store displays goods made by independent businesses from New Mexico and beyond. Coats said, “This season, we’re kind of all about cacti and leaning into the whole Southwest vibe all the way. That’s what Spur Line is for me, is this elevated version of high desert chic.”
Spur Line’s distinct sections highlight featured vendors of men’s and women’s apparel, records, stationery, flowers, herbal medicines, children’s clothing and – delightfully – donuts. From behind a counter fashioned from the windshield of a vintage Datsun, Bristol Donut Co. serves up hot coffee and handcrafted donuts to hungry shoppers and laptop-toting professionals alike. So far, the donuts have been a hit. One time, Coats said, laughing, “This lady was like, ‘is this the gift shop for the donuts?’” She just went with it.
Gift shop, crafts emporium, concept store – regardless of the name, Coats says sales in Spur Line’s second month open have surpassed the first, a good sign by any measure in retail.
A long table near the donut counter with cafe-style seating doubles as a workspace, and beyond that is an outdoor area blanketed in leafy vines, fostering what Coats hopes will be a community hub. “The objective for us is to have a workspace where people can come and use the wifi, and build a business, or hang out with their friend, or just sit and stay,” Coats said. To that end, Spur Line’s event room can be rented out as a classroom space or to private groups and meet-ups.
Coats is optimistic about the state of small businesses in Albuquerque, as the lead on one of the first retail spots to make their mark in the Sawmill district. “A lot of people are willing to take the risk to open up a shop,” she said. “The resources and willingness to do so are just going to continue to make this place boom. In a way, I feel like I’m going to get competition, but that’s good – we’re moving forward, we’re thinking – let’s keep this thing going.”
Luna y Luz
(Only at Spur Line Supply Co.)
Power and Light Press
Bristol Donut Co.
Sophie Putka is a Massachusetts transplant in love with New Mexico. She writes, makes lattes, and haunts Albuquerque eateries in search of a good bagel. She can usually be found in the kitchen trying to use up as many leftovers as possible and plotting her next adventure.