Shop owner says business is struggling to survive because of ART

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A shop owner on Central said businesses are going down one by one. She blames the Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction.

Bessie Romero said empty shelves represent her store’s future.

“I’m losing loyal customers also, because I don’t have the merchandise,” said Romero.

Romero is the owner of Bessie’s on Central near Atrisco. The gift shop and craft store has been open for almost 25 years. But Romero said at this point, she can’t afford to restock or stay open anymore.

Romero said that’s because she went from making an average of $400 a day to less than a dollar.

“My lowest lowest sales for one day was 89 cents,” said Romero.

Romero blames the ART construction for her store’s struggles.

“Customers weren’t coming by because it was too much of a problem to get here,” said Romero.

Romero claims she’s not the only one. She said the store next door was the first to go on her block.

The owner of J&J’s Tire Shop just two doors down from Bessie’s said their future is also unclear.

“Sometimes we make $10,” said Owner Jose Aguilar. “Sometimes we make not even a dollar.”

The City of Albuquerque said it’s doing everything possible to help businesses get through construction. It said that’s what the Small Business Resource Collaborative is for. It offers shops free business and financial consulting, along with access to loans.

The city said the Collaborative has also reached out to Bessie’s.

“We’ve been out and contacted them at least nine times, maybe even closer to 11 in the last 11 months,” said Joanie Griffin, spokesperson for ART.

But Romero said the construction woes still outweigh the help.

“It’s just hurting so many people,” said Romero. “The construction is hurting so many people.”

Romero said she will have to close by May unless a miracle happens. Romero’s daughter did start a GoFundMe for the business. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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