MAYHILL, N.M. (KRQE) – A convenience store in one New Mexico community has been known for posting provocative and racist signs in its windows. Now under new ownership, people in that Otero County community say they are ready to move on.
Change is in the air for the Mayhill community. “It has always kind of been a dark spot on out community,” Mayhill Baptist Church pastor Matt Henslee said.
The Mayhill convenience store that has been there for years sold this week. “The signs are finally down,” Henslee said.
The previous owner was known for posting racist and controversial signs in the window. In 2017, one sign read “Obama and Muslims not welcome here.” Another said, “Where is the KKK when you need them?” Then last August, they posted a sign that said “Illegal immigrants not welcome here“. Most recently, a sign read “Joe Biden please pick our governor for a running mate so we can get the b**** out of New Mexico.”
“We are such a small town that one business ruins the reputation of the entire town,” Mayhill Cafe general manager Joshua Comino said. Comino said people often mistook the convenience store for the Mayhill Cafe nearby, leading to bad reviews online of the cafe.
The manager said it took a toll on their business. “We got some threats, verbal threats, phone calls…” Comino said. “We even called the sheriff and state police at one point.”
Henslee said their businesses rely on travelers passing through who he said avoided stopping there due to the messages. “Now, there is not a reason to hit the gas and go even faster out of here,” Henslee said.
He posted the news on Facebook, getting responses from people saying that the store will have their business next time through. “This is the chapter we want written now in Mayhill and turning that page of what we had in the past.”
The new owner, Anna Mae White, said her motto is God, country, and family and said everyone will be welcome at her store. “We have a good attitude, and we threw all them signs out,” White said. “We are excited about the community getting a new start.”
White said she and her husband have been trying to buy the store since they moved to Mayhill two years ago. The new Mayhill Country Store will reopen in two or three weeks as a small grocery store with things like a fudge and lemonade factory.