With new businesses sprouting up around the Estancia Valley and East Mountains, and with others moving, expanding, or making changes, The Independent is running a regular business feature to keep the community up to date.

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Daniel Muñoz started as the general manager at the Subway in Edgewood in 2016. In just two years he has created an impressive reputation for the restaurant and has won recognition for running one of the best Subways in the world.

The store is a 10-time gold medalist in the Subway “customer service Olympics.” They are the number one Subway in the world for 2018 out of 45,000 stores and they are second to no one in Colorado and New Mexico out of 350 restaurants, based on customer feedback. They were also champions, two years in a row, for Subway’s World Sandwich Day competition. Since Muñoz started they have had a 16 to 30 percent increase in sales despite its remote location and small store.

Muñoz started with Subway in Albuquerque, but the East Mountain native decided to move back home and took a position at the Edgewood location. “When I arrived it was super negative,” he said. “I set out to change the culture and to instill the principle of treating everyone the way that they want to be treated.”

Although Muñoz had management experience with the company, he came back to Edgewood with the notion of wanting to start over and work his way from the bottom up. After a few months Muñoz managing the Edgewood store, he had created a hand-picked team. He said what he looks for in a crew member is all about personality and what he was looking for were like minded individuals who can be “kind, respectful and cheerful.”

The entire crew greets every customer with a smile and a very personalized form of customer service. They remember the names and orders of regular patrons and even if they don’t know the person they find out what their name is and treat them like all regulars.

Muñoz said that he starts every day outside his store in quiet contemplation where he meditates and prays before his day begins. His friendly personality seems to be contagious and he strives to “lead by example.”

The Edgewood Subway does not have a large crew but they do have a very slow turnover rate, he said. The new staff hired by Muñoz is almost entirely intact and has been working together for about a year, with the exception of one crew member who is on military leave but plans to return. Muñoz recognizes the hard work of Nikkole Marihugh, Julisa Dominguez, Steven Otero, Megan Johnson, Samantha Berry, Nichole Schwerdel, Yamilett Olivas and Kristine Ensey.

Subway in Edgewood is located at 5 George Court and can be reached at 505-286-1476. Online orders are accepted at subway.com.

Honey Bear’s Café is a new restaurant in Cedar Crest. Megan Clayton opened her doors in May of this year.

They are a New Mexican American style restaurant, open Friday through Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering foods including chile, burgers, salad, grilled cheese, tacos, enchiladas and burritos.

Their specialty menu item is called a Hungry Bear plate and it features a 9-oz. steak, beans, potatoes, enchiladas and salad.

The price range of the menu ranges from $4 to $17.95. Honey Bear’s also offer house-made pies and other freshly-made pastries like muffins and cookies. They also offer mini pies. Pies are sold both by the slice and by the pie.

Honey Bear’s has also put a big focus on being environmentally conscientious. They use only biodegradable to-go products. They also plan to raise chickens and use only farm fresh eggs in the restaurant in 2019.

They also have a garden on the property where the majority of the vegetables served inside are grown. They have a strict no high fructose corn syrup policy and they are using mostly non-GMO and organic foods to supplement the garden.

Clayton said the business is “consciously aware of being good stewards to the environment.” The restaurant also has a kids corner where kids can color, read or play dominoes. The café also promotes local artists. Works are for sale inside and currently they are featuring five local artists. They also have a lending library.

Honey Bear’s Café can be found on Facebook or Instagram, and is located at 12118 N. Hwy. 14 in Cedar Crest. The restaurant may be reached at 505-361-2636.