ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Buying local just got a lot tougher for people in southeastern New Mexico.
The area’s only local milk producer is going out of business because they say it is just too difficult to compete with the big boys.
The milk producing and bottling company, Nature’s Dairy, is closing its doors Thursday after 35 years of business.
“It means a lot to the community. What are we going to do without it here?” said Maryhelen Aragon.
Nature’s Dairy is the only local milk producer in southeastern New Mexico.
It’s been providing milk to local grocery stores and schools around the state since 1980.
“Where are we going to get it? Where are we going to buy some good milk from?” said Tony Sisneros.
Nature’s Dairy Co-owner Jeff Sapp says he had no choice but to shut the business down.
In the last year, he says the company lost more than 30 percent of its sales.
Sapp says local grocery stores who they used to sell their milk to started buying dairy products from bigger retail chains, putting their local and fresh company to the side.
“It was getting tougher and tougher for smaller businesses to compete in today’s economy with huge grocery stores and that was just the straw that broke the camels back,” said Sapp.
Wednesday, workers packaged the company’s last milk bottles, stocked their shelves with the milk they have left and thanked their customers one last time.
“I’m just so upset to see it go. I really am,” said Aragon.
Others say they agree.
“A lot of people are going to miss it,” said Sisneros.
Nature’s Dairy stopped producing milk Wednesday.
They will be open Thursday to sell whatever they have left in stock.
About 25 people worked at the bottling company.
The dairy is helping those employees find other jobs.