News / Arts & Entertainment

'Breaking Bad' Ends, but Albuquerque Hopes High Lasts

Limousine tour guide Harold Davis is dressed as "Breaking Bad" character Walter White, as Albuquerque tourists officials get ready for an event celebrating the premiere of the final season of AMC's TV series, Aug. 9, 2013.
Limousine tour guide Harold Davis is dressed as "Breaking Bad" character Walter White, as Albuquerque tourists officials get ready for an event celebrating the premiere of the final season of AMC's TV series, Aug. 9, 2013.
Reuters
As fans readied to see how chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White would meet his end in the tense finale of “Breaking Bad” on Sunday night, one Albuquerque donut maker had a rush of customers on her hands.
 
“It was insane,” said Carrie Mettling, the co-owner of the city's Rebel Donut chain, which sold $10,000 worth of its blue frosted and crystal rock candy-slathered “blue sky” donuts in the hours before showtime. “Our sales were probably quadruple what they are on a normal Sunday.”
 
The local business is among many in the wake of the runaway success of AMC's “Breaking Bad” - a show both set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico - whose profit margins have been so good lately they are almost criminal.
 
The chain, whose donuts are named for Walt's top-notch “blue sky” methamphetamine, is among several Albuquerque businesses that have felt a rush to their bottom line with the success of the Emmy-winning show
 
The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.
x
The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.
The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.
“Breaking Bad” has enjoyed a surge in viewers in the past year, as an average of 5.2 million people tuned into the last half of the fifth and final season to see cancer-stricken Walt complete his metamorphosis from a mild-mannered high school teacher to the murderous drug kingpin known as Heisenberg.
 
Love for the gritty drama triggered a tourism surge in Albuquerque and has helped several niche businesses.
 
Bakers, candy makers, tour operators and even a spa that produces bath salts in the city have done a roaring trade in products they have cooked up to meet the growing demand from an influx of “Breaking Bad” fans from across the United States, Europe and Asia.
 
“Business now is crazy good,” said Albuquerque spa products firm owner Keith West-Harrison, who began manufacturing Bathing Bad bath salts with his partner to pay for the renovation of the vacant building they bought for their skin products business.
 
“In order to pay for this renovation, we asked ourselves 'What would Walter White do?' We decided meth probably wasn't good for us, because we're not chemists, we know that it blows things up and smells bad ... so we decided bath salts were better,” he said.
 
After a tentative start turning out bath salt batches in a gallon bucket, the partners now use a cement mixer to churn out batches of 50 pounds (22.7 kilos) at a time, which sell well across the United States and in 19 countries, in show-themed plastic baggies.
 
Limo tours
 
Also cashing in on “Breaking Bad” is Debbie Ball, the owner of the Candy Lady store in old town Albuquerque. Ball made rock candy that was used as a stand-in for Walt's meth during two seasons of the show, and which she now sells to tourists in “dollar dime bags.”
 
“We like to have fun with it; it's such a bad subject,” said Ball, who reckons she has sold 35,000 to 40,000 bags in just over a year. She also runs a limousine tour taking fans to locations from the program, including White's home, although she said the owner has now tired of the procession of visitors beating a path to the front door
 
Sunday's final episode was watched by 10.3 million viewers as Walt, played by Bryan Cranston, tied up the loose ends of his crumbling drug empire and died from a bullet wound just as the police finally caught up with him. But while Walt's death spelled the end of the hit show, local business owners are optimistic the commercial high will last.
 
“We still watch 'The Sopranos' reruns, we still watch 'Sex and the City.' Those have been going on for years,” said West-Harrison, who now has three generations of his family churning out bath salts upstairs at the business. “So I'm thinking it's going to have a staying power.”
 
Mettling first baked the blue donuts as a gift for Aaron Paul, the actor who played Walt's drug partner Jesse Pinkman, at the show's wrap party last year. She now sells them at an Albuquerque building used as a location for the Drug Enforcement Administration office in the show, and is also upbeat despite the show's conclusion.
 
“Albuquerque fell in love with that show, and I will not have a problem keeping that donut on the menu,” she told Reuters. “It's got some longevity.”
 
Ball agrees, pointing out that the final series has not yet aired in all global markets and that a spinoff series is in the works.
 
“The business is not going to go away just because the show has ended. There's too many fans, and it's not going stop any time soon. I'm going to continue

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."