Jeannie Read Elkins, my grandmother and pioneer of The Turquoise Shop, hails from our mountain village of Cloudcroft, New Mexico where her grandfather once conducted the train depot and her father owned & operated an auto parts warehouse. While attending college “down the hill” at New Mexico State University, she met my grandfather Sam Elkins, a through and through cowboy from Grants, NM. After their studies, the two married and moved their lives to a few ranches spanning several states before settling into their final home in Dunken, NM, where they’d eventually start their family of five - which is now nearing thirty!
As a stranger to rural ranch life, Jeannie quickly learned how to become a maker; of all things - food, clothes, crafts - you name it. But above all, she discovered a love for cooking, primarily the feeling she received from seeing people gather and enjoy one another’s company over her meals. The kitchen table was the hub of her life. It was a busy, noisy place where family, friends and neighbors were always welcome, well-fed and guaranteed lively conversation — and a hand of cards!
The joy she garnered from entertaining folks translated perfectly into retail and became the exact mentality behind how she conducted business; her smile was her logo, her passion was her business card, and how she left others feeling became her trademark.
Growing up in the heart of Southwest Route 66, Sam had a broad understanding and appreciation for Native American craftsmanship. He understood that their creations were made in a space of joy and honor, and also saw that their cultural values found their way into every fiber of their handmade art, very similar to his wife’s cooking. Jeannie identified with this mindset of making something that you leave a part of yourself in on a deep level. Simply put — you can serve your guests a frozen pound cake or you can treat them to one that you made with your own hands. The frozen one will do in a pinch, but only the one you personally prepared will touch the very heart of your guests.
This awareness became the pinnacle of their business model; understanding that each handmade product is about people. About the time and effort that goes into each piece of work. About the passion of each maker, the magic of an artists imagination, and understanding that these products were treasures within a small community full of mass-produced product!
All of that to say — my grandmother instilled in me that people are our business here at The Turquoise Shop. 100% of our customers are people. 100% of our artists are people. 100% of our employees are people. And if we don’t understand and appreciate people, then we simply don’t understand business. She approached business knowing that her customers may forget what she said to them during their shopping experience, but they would never forget the way that she, and her employees, made them feel. She built this business with her hands, but curated patronage with her heart.
So, the friendly greeting you’ll undoubtedly receive when you visit our shop isn’t a gimmick - it’s how we do business, and always have.
We are so happy to help our customers celebrate the rich, authentic culture of the Southwest by investing in one-of-a-kind native handmade pieces which we have carefully procured for you!