Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Ashley's a Gift to Daughter, Town.(West Side Journal)

Byline: Robin Frames For the Journal

BERNALILLO

*Bernalillo man builds corner store complex that goes beyond what most convenience stores are all about

When Charlie Williamson moved to Albuquerque from Oklahoma 18 years ago, he had $300 in his pocket and was recuperating from a bad traffic accident.

Two months ago, he opened a $1.45 million convenience store and restaurant complex in Bernalillo.

"Because of the accident, I couldn't continue my construction business for a while, so I decided to be a hair stylist," Williamson recalls with a smile.

"I went to barber school and, for the next eight years, I cut hair. I still wanted to get back into construction work, but as it turned out, working in a salon helped me make valuable contacts for a new profession."

One day, when Williamson was cutting his attorney's hair, they started talking about the construction business, and the attorney asked him to build his house. But when the attorney's banker heard he wanted his hair stylist to build his house, he was hesitant to approve a construction loan.

So Williamson studied up and got his New Mexico general contractor's license and built not only the attorney's house, but homes for other salon clients, and nine homes on the Santa Ana Pueblo. …

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