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Monday, December 22, 2014

Chillz reopens on day after break-in

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Chillz owner Justin Carson stands behind the counter of his recently reopened frozen custard parlor near UNM on Monday afternoon. After Chillz was robbed and vandalized on the night of February 15, Carson was unsure whether he would have to shut down his business.

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Despite a recent robbery, business at Chillz Frozen Custard is heating back up again.

Justin Carson, the owner of Chillz, said he decided to reopen his establishment after receiving support for his business on social media.

“To see people really rally around my business and all the nice things they had to say, that was really motivating,” he said.
People also donated to a recovery fund that one of his customers started online, Carson said. According to the fundraiser website, $1,637 was raised for the business.

On Feb. 16, Carson was informed that during the night his business had been broken into and his money and valuables stolen, including his cash register and various electronic devices. The establishment is located on Central Avenue near the University area.

Carson said he was able to reopen on Feb. 17.

“After I got all the back cleaned up, I came back in on Monday and I just thought, ‘I’m not going to let thieves get the best of me,’” he said.

The Albuquerque Police Department has not yet followed up with any leads, Carson said, and he is also waiting to hear back from his insurance agency.

Despite the setbacks, he said he feels confident that he will remain open if the weather stays warm.

“I’m not as defeated as I was Sunday; Sunday was a really emotional day for me,” he said. “If something like that happens to you, no one is thinking positive right away. That’s just a horrible thing to happen. As long as the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, I’m alright.”

While business spiked in the week following the robbery, customers are coming in now at a regular pace, Carson said.

“Last week was really good,” he said. “There were a lot of people who came out in support. It’s been a week now, so it’s kind of back to business as usual.”

Megan Clayton, a regular Chillz customer, said during the time after the robbery she helped the frozen custard joint by notifying people on social media and buying extra frozen custard.

“I saw that he had been robbed and I immediately put a shout-out on Facebook to my group of friends that this is a great local business, something bad has happened, as a community let’s get together and be there,” she said.

Clayton said she regularly helps out local business in Albuquerque. She said it was inspiring to see people rise to the occasion and help out Chillz.

“Local business is what keeps me going, it’s what makes Albuquerque unique,” she said. “Without great places like (Chillz), it would be boring in New Mexico.”