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Toucan Market soars through the storm

The Toucan Market storefront features window art thanking the Las Cruces community. (Photo by Kokopelli Staff)

When the Sprouts Farmers Market opened its doors in Las Cruces this past February, many residents of the town welcomed the chain with open arms. However, for one established local business, the arrival of a national chain reeked of trouble.

For 14 years, Toucan Market has been serving up locally sourced groceries as well as organic and all-natural foods to the Las Cruces community. However, dark clouds hung over the future of the store for a brief period.

In a late-August interview with KVIA-TV, owner Rob Baur announced that Toucan Market would be closing. “We don’t have the big money behind us. We made a determination that we’re just not going to be able to make it,” Baur said.

Doug Butler — the chair of the Las Cruces chapter of SCORE, a volunteer-based non-profit dedicated to helping small businesses — says that Toucan’s ownership might have “jumped the gun” when Sprouts opened. “Customer loyalty is worth a lot on a local level,” Butler said.

And it showed. After a restructuring of ownership, Toucan was able to receive a loan from Citizens Bank, another local business, in order to keep its doors open.

“What I’ve found here in Las Cruces is our community, the people here in the community, are really driven towards helping our own,” said Jo Ann Garay, director of the Small Business Development Center at Doña Ana Community College. “What happened was a community came together.”

Small businesses have community resources available to them. Organizations such as SCORE and the SBDC provide a plethora of resources, including access to experienced entrepreneurs and access to varying demographic and business reports.

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