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Entrepreneurship in New Mexico

We may not have the biggest country geographically, but the diversity of our citizens is second to none.

Nancy and I recently visited New Mexico. Mexican heritage is strong- a large percentage of the population speaks Spanish in addition to English.

We chatted up the bartender in our hotel who was born in Mexico City, Mexico.  The bartender now owns property in Mexico City, as well as in New Mexico. He loves Mexico City, but he’s in the US because it allows him to have a better phone, a better car, and a better house.

New Mexico is home to many native Americans. Driving on the highway, it seems like one continuously travels from one reservation to another. We toured the Taos Pueblo, a sort of communal living apartment house and home of the Red Willow Tribe.  The Pueblo is constructed of adobe – mud mixed with straw which hardens when baked in the sun. Our guide, a young woman who lives on the reservation, said that her ancestors have lived continuously at this site for a thousand years.

The weather on the day we visited was in the 30s with a couple of inches of snow. I wanted something to warm me up; there was a coffee shop within the Pueblo so we pressed inside.  We talked with the owner, a handsome 30ish Native American.  He’d been a barista elsewhere and wanted to serve his community, so recently opened the shop.  In addition to the coffee, he bakes delicious cookies and pastries at night and brings them to the shop each morning.

He applied for and received a grant to purchase battery powered coffee equipment, as there is no electricity in the Pueblo. He set up the coffee shop within the family gift shop.

Like everyone else, the Tribes encounter business successes and failures.  Every tribe seems to have opened a casino.  What used to be novel and valuable has become common, and subject to survival of the fittest. Seedy casinos depart, while the nicer ones survive.

A defunct casino on the Nambe reservation was favorably repurposed as a Tesla dealership.  In addition to providing jobs, locating on native American land allowed Tesla to skirt a state law against manufacturer direct-to-consumer auto sales.

Another closed casino on the Tesuque reservation was repurposed as Camel Rock Movie Studios.  The website bills them as established in 1200 AD, and re-established in 2020 AD.

Back at the hotel bar, a guest of Mexican heritage was telling us he was in the cannabis business, which had recently been authorized in New Mexico. Banks are not able to service Cannabis businesses because federally the business is still illegal, so the shops have to deal in cash, or shaky stuff like cryptocurrency.  This is another business that, like casinos, will be good while it is new but will probably fade as it is widely available.

Preferences vary widely but needs don’t.  Everyone needs food, shelter, and wants their children to grow up above average. People must make a living as best they can.  Some are better athletes; some are better bartenders or accountants or entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but lots of people want and should give it a try.


TABASFUNDING provides funds in the form of loans from $100,000-$750,000 to entrepreneurs who want to expand or acquire businesses. We will look at other business situations which require capital, effort, management, and patience. It will take a while to find out who the winners are in the current environment. If you think you have one, and need funding, please contact me directly at 610-896-2400 or


LEE TABAS is available as a consultant, director, or expert. Areas of expertise include: banking & business matters: loans, deposits, administration, collection, leadership, liability, business turnarounds, and conflicts of interest. Lee Tabas has experience as a trustee for trusts and foundations.  Please call for further information.

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