News / Arts & Entertainment

'Breaking Bad' Ends, but Albuquerque Hopes High Lasts

Limousine tour guide Harold Davis is dressed as
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 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
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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”