Casa Tlaquepaque closes

January 02, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Maria de Lourdes Reinosa, proprietor of Casa Tlaquepaque here, closed her Cole Road furniture store Saturday.

She said the prices of the store's imported handmade furniture and home accessories from the artisan village of Tlaquepaque, Mexico, were just too high for Imperial Valley customers.

The location of the store — off Cole Road between the Carrows and the 7-Eleven — provided her enough foot traffic and she said customers from as far away as Indio and Palm Springs stopped by to shop.

If it weren't for the limited spending power of local shoppers, Reinosa said she might have been able to stick it out.


"There's no other store here like it," she said.

The items she sold were similar to home accessories sold at Pier 1 Imports — but with a Mexican accent. In addition to hand-assembled wooden furniture, the store offered such items as hand wrought iron bells intended to decorate a patio or porch or mirrors with intricately carved frames.

While a storewide sale might have allowed more locals to afford her merchandise, Reinosa said she couldn't drop prices because of costs she incurred importing fragile items from the small suburb of Guadalajara and rent and electricity bills.

Reinosa, the wife of a Mexicali businessman and mother of three, said she will take all of the store's merchandise to her mother's Mexicali furniture store, where she had worked for five years before she tried to make a go of it here.

"The best time here was the winter of 2000," she said.

She opened the store in September 2000 and prospects looked good after her first Christmas shopping season.

This summer her sales figures shrank.

Since she never made enough money to hire employees, she ended up working from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily by herself while her two younger children were in day care.

"It's lots of work for one person," she said.

Her mother's store is at 2046 Avenida Zaragoza near Calle C and Justo Sierra in Colonia Nueva. She hopes her loyal Imperial Valley customers visit her in Mexicali.

Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, was one of those loyal customers.

This year she bought her husband a new furniture set for Christmas at Tlaquepaque.

Carrillo-Rivera said Reinosa sold "wonderful-looking items that weren't too expensive."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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