I discovered a lovely shop on the plaza in Taos called the Village Shop. The Garcia family has owned the Village Shop for 45 years. I was fortunate to come across this outstanding business. Naturally intrigued, I decided to speak with them. I spoke with Bernie, Connie, and Mark Garcia as well as Bernadine De Herrera and discovered a business in town that is run by family.
I suppose it puts a smile on my face because family is the very bottom line of everything. Family is important, and to come across a local business still inside the plaza with a family history of over 45 years is remarkable. As we live and grow, life passes by every day — there’s no pause button, or a “hold that thought.” In the blink of an eye things will change; our roots matter.
I was happy to see that they featured locally known artists such as:
- James Fields (Late)
- James Cortez
- Joseph Martinez
- Bernardo Valdez (Velarde)
- Manuel Montoya(Vadito)
- Cliff Lewis
- David Vidoe
- Rowina Romer-Gibson
- Dawn Antelope
- Marvin Cardenas
- Esperanza Rugellio
- Marie Corrizo
- Raymond Rossetta
- Louie Barela
- Johnny Garcia
- Connie Garcia
What makes the shop unique is that they focus more on the local art. They are always scouting new artists on a consistent basis.
“Taos gave us the opportunity to thrive, why not reciprocate?” Mrs. Garcia said appreciatively.
The Village Shop has had to adapt many times throughout their journey in order to keep up with the times. For example, the Village Shop started selling clothing of all types because that fit the market at the time. They did the t-shirt ordering for the first soccer leagues in Taos with Jessie Castaneda. But as times changed, so did they. As the pull towards Walmart increased, they had to adapt to the new ways of retail, but found their niche in the process.
“We decided to change over, and have one side of the store be a gallery.” Mr. Garcia said.
Mrs. Garcia smiled and said, “Grandma said, ‘Do it different. Go after the artists from here.’” They did. To me, it sounds like their gallery is important to them for numerous reasons.
“We stay true to our community by staying true to our heritage.” Mr. Garcia smiled.
That hits close to home for me. Heritage is a big word. It’s an important kind of word. It is our history, choices, influences, decisions and the people surrounding us that mold us into who we are. My father once said, “Melanie, plant the seed, let it grow, and after all your years of hard work, you will begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor.”
The Garcia family did that, “We are generations of family in the valley,” Mr. Garcia said. And now they have grandchildren growing up within the tradition. This is touching because despite the fact that many lose touch with their identity, the Garcia family strives to keep their legacy.
“Grandma always said, “Mi hita, no matter what you do, don’t insult a customer,” Mrs. Garcia added. Those are wise words for any store owner, merchant, or retail shop. I wouldn’t shop somewhere if I didn’t feel welcomed.
Connie Garcia comes from a long line of empowered woman. At the age of 13, with her sights on a fiesta dress she wanted, she applied for her first job and got it. In those days it was unheard of for a female to be working. She later worked for the Taos Chamber of Commerce; afterward she managed a Fry’s Western on Taos Plaza for years.
“My mom used to play as a little kid right here in the plaza, and gained a career inside,” said Bernadine De Herrera.
Connie Garcia is quite the inspiring lady for any female out there. I suppose I can appreciate the sentiment, because I myself was brought up to have the mentality that “if your dreams make you happy, follow them.”
While inside, I had the opportunity to look around. The village shop has many fine items from sterling silver and turquoise jewelry, Santos, and Christmas ornaments. In just a few a short months from now the holidays are upon us. What better way to celebrate than with handcrafted Christmas ornaments for your tree, or celebrate the woman in your life with beautifully handcrafted earrings.
I’d say going over and checking out the Village Shop is worth the time and effort. They have great customer service skills, people friendly attitudes. and local art. Who knows, you may find stuff from people you know!