Red River New Mexico Street Valley

For the long holiday weekend, I traveled to Red River, New Mexico with my wife for a little stream fishing and relaxation in the cool of the mountains. This was only my second time to visit the New Mexico mountains at this time of year, but I have quickly come to love the relaxing calm that travels through the valleys.

It’s refreshing. That is, until you interact with the locals, the one owners of the restaurants, gift shops, cabins, and bait shops.

The truth is that Red River has a problem. The problem is the local people have been running their businesses the same way, giving customers service that fits into their schedules instead of meeting customer needs and expectations, for decades. And the fact that people continue to visit has sent them into a state of complacency and mild apathy.

The attitude of the Red River locals is “I’ll do things the way I want, when I want.”

Restaurants didn’t have posted hours, they would shut down when they felt it was time to quit. We literally walked 3 restaurants at 8:30pm right after they had seated another group and were told that “they were closed.”

The majority of the gift shops didn’t allow customers to use their bathrooms because, “it’s their policy.” Some outright lied and said that they don’t have a bathroom.

I don’t say all this to rant and rave about how I hate Red River, NM. Just the opposite. I love Red River and I don’t want to see it wither away because of no one in the town has the guts to challenge the status quo.

Fact is, all it would take to give the local culture of Red River a complete 180 is one. It would take just one business in Red River, meeting and then exceeding customer expectations. It would take one shop that welcomes customers in, even if it is just to use the bathroom. If just one would insist on changing the rules it would force the whole town to change or watch their businesses die a painful death

Be brave enough to stand up and be the one. If you don’t someone else will, and then it might be too late.

(Image via: Zeality