PAGOSA SPRINGS – Pagosa area residents spend 47 percent of their total retail expenditures outside Archuleta County. It is not uncommon for residents to drive to Durango or Farmington to do their shopping, particularly for general merchandise, where outflow is as high as 75 percent. However, one of the charming things about Pagosa Springs is that the town has no mall, no big box retailer and few chain stores. Residents can find just about everything they are looking for in town, they just might not be able to choose from 20 different brands of MP3 players. While you may not be able to get an iPod (Radio Shack is currently out of stock) you can find things in Pagosa that you will not find anywhere else.
Jewelry is a big holiday gift item and Pagosa Springs has options. Custom jewelry designer Summer Phillips (123 N. 15th Street) creates one-of-a-kind jewelry created for each individual client and John Pingenot (River Center) cuts gemstones in a unique and detailed way, creating miniature sculptures one can wear on a pendant or on a finger. If gemstones are not your thing, or out of your price range, check out the semi-precious stones and antique beads in the jewelry created by Artisan Monika Murphy at Astara (Hot Springs Resort). Newly opened Puttin’ on the Rydz also sells semi-precious gemstone jewelry created by local artisan Pat Rydz. Rydz work is much larger and chunkier than the petite work of bead artist Kathryn Cole at Crazy for Beads (River Center). Cole is also a fine silversmith who creates beautiful sterling silver pendants and earrings in large organic forms.
If it is Native American jewelry you are looking for, no need to drive to Santa Fe, journey to Pagosa and visit Lantern Dancer (River Center) where you can find Santa Fe quality at Pagosa prices. Check out the beautiful craftsman ship of Alfred Lee and the Huichol beaded earrings. They have every precious and semi-precious gemstone available in numerous settings, mostly silver, but some gold, and the prices are very affordable. For more traditional gold, diamonds and watches there is Jem Jewelers (27D Talisman Drive) and next door you will find a great selection of Kenny Ma jewelry at The Plaid Pony (27C Talisman Drive). Victoria’s Reign (274 Pagosa Street) also stocks antique replica jewelry.
For the real thing, don’t miss Main Street Antiques (438B Pagosa Street) with a fine collection of old jewelry and costume jewelry and some really fun replicas by New York designers Ann Koplick and Catherine Popesco, who create new jewelry from old molds. Daisy Valentine’s (250 Pagosa Street) has artisan-made jewelry and the latest trends in costume jewelry can be found at Happy Trails Ladies Boutique (454 Pagosa Street) and Miss Jean’s (175 Pagosa Street). Goodman’s Department Store (402 Pagosa Street) carries a nice selection of Brighton jewelry and bags and the Hogs Breath Saloon (157 Navajo Trail Drive) has South Dakota Gold.
If it’s electronics you are looking for, you can find them in Pagosa. From cell phones and satellite radio at Ensignal (2035 Eagle Drive, Suite 111) and Radio Shack (140 Country Center Drive) to stereos and home entertainment at Superior Car and Home Audio/Video (424 Pagosa Street), Sears (140 South Sixth Street) and even Alco (Country Center).
Want something truly original? Try buying handcrafted artisan work and fine art. Pagosa has a great selection of art available. Wild Spirit Gallery (408 San Juan Street) features the work of 35 local, regional and national artists with a focus on landscape and western art: Wayne Justus, Carole Cooke, Pierre Mion, Charles Ewing, Clive R. Tyler, Tom Lockhart, Milton Lewis, Avonna Lee Landwehr, Kent Gordon, Jake Gaedtke, Randall Davis and others. At Handcrafted Interiors (251 Pagosa Street) you can find the exquisite Old Stones Furniture of award-winning artisan Cappy White and hand turned wooden bowls and pottery. At Lantern Dancer (River Center) pick up a Jemez Pueblo storyteller nativity set by Antonito artist Clifford Kim Fragua, or purchase one of his contemporary storytellers. Lantern Dancer also carries the pottery of Navajo artist Dennis Charlie and Ute Mountain Ute artist Norman Lansing. Pagosa artist Darlene Raes paints intricate detailed paintings on feathers and the paintings of Pagosa favorites Claire Goldrick and Sue Weaver are also available.
At The Crucible Art Gallery (448 Pagosa Street) take home a classic bronze sculpture by artists Roberto Garcia and his wife Anna. Anna’s birds are amazing and Roberto’s female figures are exquisite. If it’s pottery you are looking for, check out The Touchstone Gift Shop (River Center). Pagosa potter, Verna Lucas creates functional wares in a variety of color schemes. Colorado artists are featured at the Made in Colorado Shoppe (2105 West Highway 160) with a wide variety of pottery. The fine ceramic art of D. Michael Coffee at Shy Rabbit (333 Bastille Drive, Unit B-1) is worth a trip to Pagosa from just about anywhere. Moonlight Books (434 Pagosa Street) carries local watercolor, oil painting and photography and Pagosa Photography has fine art photography of Chimney Rock and Stevens Lake and Pagosa Peak by photographer Jeff Laydon.
At Taminah Custom Frame Center (2343 Eagle Drive) you can pick up a print by Pagosa artist Pat Erickson, but the best investment is to purchase one of her transparent watercolor paintings on display at Wild Spirit (408 San Juan Street) or Shy Rabbit (333 Bastille Drive, Unit B-1). Down at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park (4821A Highway 84) upstairs in the gift shop is also a fine collection of western and wildlife art.
Clothing is always a safe bet during gift giving season and Pagosa has options. A friend of mine buys all her clothes at Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel (456 Pagosa Street), where they have cargo pants and fleece and simple, well-made outdoor gear. You can get Hurley and Fox at Summit Ski & Sports (River Center) for your teenager. Western wear is big at Goodman’s Department Store (402 Pagosa Street) where they have an awesome selection of cowboy boots and jeans. For the fashionable and cost-conscience there is Miss Jean’s (175 Pagosa Street) who carries sizes 2-18. Happy Trails (454 Pagosa Street) has beautiful designer clothing. For the fun and funky don’t miss Satori Boutique & Gifts (150 Pagosa Street) and Astara (Hot Springs Resort) has original designs and eclectic international attire for women of all sizes. For the true bargain hunter look for gently worn clothing at Upscale Resale (117 Navajo Trail Drive), the Community United Methodist Thrift Shop (433 Lewis Street) and the Humane Society Thrift Shop (269 Pagosa Street).
If it’s toys you are looking for, check out Alco (Country Center) or contact Terri Andersen at Discovery Toys (firstname.lastname@example.org) and don’t forget Radio Shack (Country Center) for cool remote control cars and electronic toys. Looking for a bicycle? Try Juan’s Mountain Sports (155 Hot Springs Boulevard) or Pedal Power (117 Navajo Trail).
Looking for the latest best seller, that book on the book club list or something spiritually enlightening? Try Moonlight Books (434 Pagosa Street), Wolf-Tracks Bookstore and Coffee Co. (Country Center) and Tara Mandala (903 San Juan Street). Maybe Music is on that wish list. The latest CD or some undiscovered local band can be found at Howlin’ Wolf Music (2035 Eagle Drive) where they also have the best supplies for local musicians and even guitar lessons.
Some of the most uniquely Pagosa items available include a home brew kit or winemaking kit from The Brew Haus (375 South Eighth Street) and the complete line of Parelli Natural Horsemanship gear and training programs available at Parelli headquarters (56 Talisman Drive, Suite 6). Give the gift of health and healing at The Springs Resort (165 Hot Springs Boulevard). And don’t forget Grandpa Bill’s homemade caramels, jams and jellies from The Choke Cherry Tree (4760 West Highway 160).
This holiday season, if you are looking for something different, so
mething unusual, something you won’t find in every big box retail store, department store and mall, then come to Pagosa Springs.