BULLETIN PHOTO BY STEVE MACINTYRE
Britany Mixer and Betsy Hoxworth from local company Fresh Chile Co. hand out samples of their medium and hot chile sauces on tortilla chips with cream cheese Saturday morning, June 30, during Toucan Market’s 13th anniversary day. Toucan’s carries a number of local products and vendors also participated in a customer appreciation day.
Las Cruces Bulletin
Toucan Market, a locally owned and operated grocery store at 1701 E. University Ave., will close its doors soon.
The store, owned by Bob Baur, who managed the grocery side of the operation, and Richard Cole, who managed the business side, opened in June 2005.
After Labor Day, Sept. 3, Cole said the store will begin putting its items on sale.
“We’ll be open as long as we can sell items,” Cole said, estimating that could take six weeks, potentially until mid-October.
The store currently has 36 employees.
“One of the best things about our store is how good the people are working for us,” Cole said. “Somebody needs to hire these good people. We were lucky to have them.”
Cole said, as all businesses do, Toucan struggled in the first few years.
But even during the recession years of 2008-2010, they continued to grow, he said, with the store’s best years coming in 2011-14. But the year-to-date revenue figures for 2018, from January to July, are 40 percent below what they were in 2014, with no sign of return, Cole said.
Cole said more than 150 local foodmakers marketed their wares at Toucan, a point of pride for he and Baur, and a way the store distinguished itself.
“Our pledge was to be as local as we could, and to give local suppliers a market,” Cole said.
“Before we opened, we felt the Las Cruces market could bear a specialty food store,” he said. “And it did. We built it up, but we just couldn’t hold it."