AP NEWS

Business in brief, Feb. 19, 2019

February 20, 2019

Plaza jewelry store gets makeover

Diva Diamonds on the Plaza closed Feb. 12 for a “sales floor makeover” with an expected reopening Monday, Feb. 25.

Owner Mark Suleiman is replacing all the floor display cases and will have additional cases with better LED lighting. He also will increase the diamond stock at the store he’s operated on the Plaza since 2010.

The makeover will remove the track lighting and install a drop ceiling with new LED lighting, he said. Suleiman plans to polish the white and black marble floor tiles.

“Business is good,” he said. “Business is up every year. We want to have more presentations for our customers.”

Diva Diamonds also designs the jewelry in which diamonds are set in a basement workshop at the store, Suleiman said.

Days of gas priced under $2 likely over

Except for a few remaining service stations at $1.97 per gallon, Santa Fe’s few weeks with gasoline prices less than $2 per gallon likely are over for now.

The AAA New Mexico Weekend Gas Watch last week calculated a $2.06 average gas price in Santa Fe. Most gas prices in Santa Fe were at $2.05.

Earlier in February, drivers could find gas for $1.95 to $1.99 a gallon in Santa Fe, though the AAA weekly reports only dropped to a $2 average.

“It’s not likely we will see gas prices under $2 a gallon [in the coming weeks or months],” AAA Texas/New Mexico spokesman Daniel Armbruster said. “I would suspect we are entering a time of year where gas prices tend to go up.”

He said the end of February and early March is a period where refineries do maintenance with lower fuel production and also convert to summer fuel blends, both of which tend to drive up fuel prices. Frigid weather across the country dropped the demand for fuel enough to cause New Mexico prices to edge higher in the past week, Armbruster said.

Santa Fe had the cheapest fuel in New Mexico. The statewide average was $2.11, 17 cents lower than the national average.Albuquerque and Las Cruces clocked in at $2.07 and Farmington at $2.33.

Santa Fe gasoline prices have dropped 30 cents from a year ago, and New Mexico overall is 26 cents cheaper.

Two Men and a Truck movers coming to S.F.

The Lansing, Mich.-based Two Men and a Truck moving company expects to open a Santa Fe office in March with two trucks, three to six drivers and five to eight movers.

Franchise majority owner Dylan Southward would like to see that grow to 10 drivers, 12 movers and five trucks in the next three to four years.

Two Men and a Truck operates in 44 states with 348 offices, but has had one New Mexico location since 2007, in Albuquerque, where Southward works and will remain general manager. The Santa Fe office will be at 7537 Old Airport Road.

Southward has ambitions to open additional Two Men and a Truck operations in Las Cruces, aiming for 2022, and after that expanding to Farmington.

Southward decided to open his own franchise after noticing Santa Fe residents regularly calling Albuquerque for service but then backing away.

“They don’t want to pay the two-hour travel time,” Southward said.

Southward was awarded a Two Men scholarship that waived 80 percent of the franchise fee to open his Santa Fe operation. Southward started with Two Men as a marketing manager in Orlando, Fla., and was promoted to general manager in Albuquerque in 2016.

The New Mexican