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Pink Rhino owner helps keep Albuquerque unique

The Pink Rhino and Red Velvet Underground offers a unique thrifting experience in a basement location on Central Avenue in the Nob Hill area of Albuquerque. The store, while upon first glance looks quaint, is in fact a sprawling shop with hundreds of clothing items and many art pieces both curated and crafted by owner Dori Martain, a longtime creative, entrepreneur and Renaissance woman of punk.

The store is one of 22 Martain has owned and operated. Featuring numerous racks of vintage and recycled clothing for sale alongside records, CDs, furniture and more, the store also doubles as a music venue and restaurant, open until midnight. Most of the furniture for sale is handmade by Martain herself or friends and family.

Upon entering, you are greeted by a tin man — a staple Martain said she can’t open a store without. The space has become a safe haven for many to be themselves, according to Martain. 

“There's a lot of odd things in here … grim reaper there, tin man — I have a tin man at all my stores. I just kind of think it's what I should do. Why walk into a place that looks boring? I can't stand that,” Martain said.

This eclectic nature reflects Martain, self-described as a “different kind of person.” Martain grew up in New York, auditioning and being cast in different musicals and practicing ballet for 8 years. She then moved to Hawaii at about 19 years old and worked as a fisherwoman; while off the clock, she claims to have got lost at sea and mistaken for a mermaid.

“(The) Coast Guard found me. They didn't think I was real because my hair was so long,” Martain said. “One of the pizzas for sale at the venue is named after this experience — called ‘Lost at Sea.’”

Martain credits most of her knowledge and skills to family and people in her life, including close friend Michael Morroe. While they only have known each other for around a year, Morroe describes them as two old hippie souls that have connected.

“It seems like we've been friends a lot longer than we have … We can talk about anything and everything and not judge or be embarrassed about anything … It’s hard to find someone like that,” Morroe said.

The shop attracts a wide variety of customers, many of whom Martain knows after having run the store for so long. During her interview with the Daily Lobo, several people walked in who Martain greeted and caught up with.

“All kinds — there’s some really smart, educated, mechanically educated people. Musicians: good musicians, bad musicians, bad musicians that think they’re good. All different kinds, traders. It's funny how many different kinds of people that are here,” Morroe said.

Currently, Martain said they tend to do one show a week, allowing any musician to perform; she wants to give them a chance at the experience.

“A lot of people have never been on stage. It's a good start for them. It's scary when you're just (starting). And they get used to being onstage and their confidence grows and they get less nervous. It kind of helps,” Martain said.

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While the location off Central Avenue is up for sale, Martain said she still feels a pull to that specific location. Their second location can currently be found on Eubank Boulevard and is in the process of getting licensed to serve food and drinks. Their location off Washington Streethas yet to open, but will be primarily used for entertainment, according to Martain.

“The Pink Rhino here, The Red Velvet Underground is like a home away from home for people to congregate late at night,” Martain said.

Madeline Pukite is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at or on Twitter @maddogpukite


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