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Some balance for Saguache

Letter from Marty Mitchell

Saguache – February 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine


Just read “A Cautionary Tale,” by Marcia Darnell, about the travails of businesses in Saguache in the January edition . Thank you for remembering Saguache is here, but why the heavy focus on the downside of things, without some balancing emphasis on those businesses that are here, and have been here for quite a while?

I appreciate the time taken to interview two long- term residents of Saguache and environs, but why no interview with one or two small business owners? In your need to point out what USED TO BE in Saguache, you barely mention what IS in Saguache. One small store and cafe that Yvonne Halburian mentions, I assume is the recently-opened “Dessert First” kitchen, which functions admirably as a general store and community meeting place for a fine cup of coffee and good eats. An interview with owner/chef Lyn Brill likely would have provided a positive take on why she chose to locate her business in Saguache.

Saguache has long been an active center for artisan potters with two studio/galleries–“Within Clay Walls,” since 1979 at it’s location, and “Meerfeld Stoneware.” Blair Meerfeld and I are partners in “Meerfeld Stoneware”, which is entering its 19th year in its current location. We have found Saguache to be an agreeable place for creating art. It’s agreeable in that it has provided reasonable overhead for operating a business. That reasonable overhead also allows us to earn our living as full-time artists. We don’t have to seek employment elsewhere and make our art on the side, a rarity in the awkward world of art production.

There are other artists and antiques dealers working here, as well as small businesses I haven’t mentioned for the sake of brevity. I know it’s easy to generalize that once the old ways a town thrives upon die, the town dies with it. But there are a few people who have stepped forward to make changes, to paraphrase Yvonne’s statement. It just takes a bit of fresh examination, with equally fresh eyes. Having lived in Saguache for a decade now myself, I am aware how sleepy we appear to the untrained eye, but we, (the small businesses of Saguache) are not that difficult to spot. We do have signs on our businesses and are approachable. I think an article about how these businesses have opened and remained, as opposed to another dreary take on those that are gone, would make a more interesting read for your subscribers, and give these businesses a much needed punch of positive press.

Thanks for your attention in this matter and give Saguache a perusal when you’re in the neighborhood the next time. You’ll be surprised what you might find.


Marty Mitchell