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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

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."