Sawmill Market Under Construction, Has One Remaining Tenant Space

By Stephen Hamway, Albuquerque Journal

Jim Thompson | Albuquerque Journal

September 16, 2019 – Albuquerque’s first indoor public market is making headway, and now has a nearly full roster of local vendors who will fill it.

Sawmill Market, a 34,000-square-foot public market in a restored lumber building north of Old Town, announced a list of new vendors, bringing its total to 20, with three others in lease preparation.

The companies cover a wide variety of fields, from artisan pasta to Belgian liege waffles. Some of the companies are expanding into second or third locations, while others will count Sawmill Market as their first storefront. However, Jim Long, founder and CEO of Heritage Hotels and the developer behind the market, said all of the tenants are New Mexico-based, and they all stood out from the pack because of the quality of their products and their willingness to work with customers.

“We really looked to the categories of quality and service,” Long said.

To find the right mix of businesses, Long said he and his team put prospective tenants through a rigorous application process, where businesses were asked to outline their business plan and how they would serve Sawmill Market customers, along with their company history. While Long’s team put together a list of small businesses that could embody the spirit of the market, he added that many of the applicants reached out to him about the project.

For the tenants, the market offers an opportunity to work with like-minded small business owners in a venue that offers a more sophisticated infrastructure than most small businesses have.

Felicia Meyer, owner of HAWT Pizza Co., a wood-fired pizza company that was selected as one of the tenants, said she was excited about the possibility that having so many small businesses in a small space could foster an exciting, collaborative environment.

“I kind of see it like a lab,” Meyer said. “I see it as a place where we can work together.”

Long added that he thinks the format of the market will help tenants succeed. He said the cost of utility bills and other maintenance is built into the lease, meaning that business owners don’t have to worry about other aspects of running their storefront.

Alanna Casale, owner of Tulipani Pasta, which makes small-batch pasta that customers can cook at home, said she appreciated having a storefront without the added stress of running a full restaurant. She added that not having to bus tables and clean bathrooms gives her and her employees more of a chance to focus on the pasta.

“This gives me the space and time to test my concepts,” Casale said.

Casale said she’s planning to expand her menu, offering more fresh-made pasta dishes, along with accompaniments for customers to make their own full meals at home. Meyer added that she’ll be serving pizza, paninis, calzones, salads and crafted drinks like lavender lemonade and basil iced tea.

Long said the market has just one space left to be filled, and is on track to open in February. He said he expects around 90% of the tenants to be ready by the grand opening.