RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho business owner who’s been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic is now facing another unexpected surprise after one wrong step landed him in a tough financial situation.
For 14 years, Rio Rancho Shoe and Boot Repair has been open in the Lujan Plaza off Highway 528. The sign on the door reads “Closed on Mondays,” but now it’s closed indefinitely. “We’re kind of open in the afternoon, so people can pick up stuff that’s already done, but we’re really not taking in or doing any new work,” said Steven Garcia, the owner of the shop.
That’s because on New Years Day, Garcia was involved in a major accident. He and his cousin were exploring in the mesa when he took one wrong step and fell about 30 feet down a cliff. Garcia was airlifted to UNMH where he found out he had several fractured vertebrae, broken ribs, and a fractured sternum.
Now Garcia is unable to do much of anything including work, and after financial struggles caused by the pandemic, and now a ton of unexpected medical debt, he says he’s scared his shop may not make it. So, he and his wife created a GoFundMe page, hoping to put a dent in some of those bills. In the meantime, Garcia says he’s focusing on recovering so he can get back to the shoe shop.
Garcia says he didn’t have health insurance at the time of the fall because he was unable to afford it. This was due to a drop in business at his shop during the pandemic. They’re trying to raise $50,000 to pay for his medivac flight and other medical expenses.