What does it mean to be a Rude Boy?
The word ‘rude’ is commonly associated with an unhappy connotation of disrespect, but for one University of New Mexico alum, a ‘Rude Boy’ is considered a style that’s enriched in music and history. That style would eventually lead Mike Silva to name his business after the phrase. Now, Rude Boy Cookies, has become a popular cookie shop settled right in the heart of the Albuquerque community.
"It was cool to be a Rude Boy," said Silva, Rude Boy Cookies founder and co-owner.
Silva says his first language as a child was music. He grew up playing the accordion, saxophone and drums.
"As I got older, I began playing in Reggae and Ska bands," he said.
Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late-1950s. Fans of Ska were referred to as Rude Boys, Rude Girls or Rudies. Rude Boys favored sharp suits, thin ties and slick shoes when they attended Ska shows.
"You might hear someone in the crowd say, 'Look at all those Rude Boys,'" Silva said. "Because of my love of Ska music and my love of cookies, Rude Boy Cookies made perfect sense."
Five years ago, Rude Boy Cookies set up shop in the Bricklight District near UNM. Silva, being a Lobo, said it was an obvious choice as he wanted employees and customers to be able to enjoy the University atmosphere.
"It's been tough, but we remain determined to come out on the other side of this alive and well." -Mike Silva, Rude Boy Cookies co-owner
Silva graduated from UNM in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He still remains part of the Lobo community as a member of the UNM Alumni Board. He said, while he didn't choose a career path related to his degree, being a business owner has its own set of challenges.
"The entrepreneur life hasn't been easy," he said. "Since we've opened, we have tackled the normal challenges that come along with being a small business; making payroll, becoming profitable, staying relevant and innovative while providing a quality product."
Then there are the additional challenges like the construction of the city's Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART), and now managing to stay afloat during COVID-19.
"Due to this virus we have had to re-engineer how we do business," Silva said.
Once Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham enacted the state's current public health orders in response to the Coronavirus, Silva said he was forced to lay off employees and reduce hours.
"A month ago, we had three locations. Today, we have one," Silva said. "We have provided our staff with as many tools as we can to help them with the options available due to the layoffs and reduction of hours."
Silva and his Rude Boy staff have also switched-up the way they cater to their customers. They're offering Take & Bake and Cookie Decorating kits for families to enjoy while at home.
"We have plans to kick-off a series of short videos that tell our story and show how we make our cookies," Silva said. "We have interactive products that focus on family-fun activities."
It’s a message Silva said he feels jives right along with the Rude Boy style.
"It's been tough, but we remain determined to come out on the other side of this alive and well," he concluded.
Customers can still place their orders online. However, the remaining open location, near UNM, is only open every Wednesday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Under state guidelines, Rude Boy Cookies is not allowed to have its dining area open to customers; instead Silva said they've opened a walk-up window.