When we started out last year, La Tienda was only a concept. This concept was based on the conviction that helping each other and our neighbors, and giving back to the community are as important as the bottom line.
At that time, people wished us luck and, honestly, shook their heads. They didn’t think what we were trying to do could be done. Really, who operates a successful business based on non-profit principles?
It was risky to open a business. It was riskier still to open in the current economic climate. The risk taken by the businesses at La Tienda was even bigger. They have rejected the business as usual philosophy and have embraced a concept that puts the community they serve at the forefront of their business practices. The businesses at La Tienda have a heart.
It is true these businesses offer many products and services you can’t find anywhere else in Santa Fe. SpinDoc is the only supplier for Breezer Bikes in Santa Fe. Barn Dogs is the only Carhartt dealer in the area. It is also true that the business owners are committed experts in their fields. But what makes La Tienda truly unique is that everyone who owns a business here is passionate about both what they do and the community they serve.
“The difference between what we’re doing and a bike store is that a bike store is all about marketing, margins and profit. SpinDoc is a bike shop. We support and participate in the sport. I should be focusing on retail as we gear up for the holidays, but instead I’m racing on the national level. This shop is about biking and for people who love to bike,” says Kirk Rhinehart, owner of SpinDoc. What Kirk does not mention is that his shop has raised thousands of dollars for Doctors Without Borders this year and that he does not charge labor for replacing a tire tube.
The businesses ensure that La Tienda is more than just a shopping center. It is a community center. It supports local non-profits, provides regular community events, and is home to organizations including The Eldorado Children’s Theater, The Eldorado Farmers Market, and the Eldorado Cub Scouts. It is also an arts center, committed and focused on promoting economic development opportunities for New Mexico artists.
Currently, La Tienda consists of 17 operating businesses and early next year, it will expand again. In truth, and in spite of the economy, La Tienda is just about full.
These days, the same people who shook their heads are regulars in our businesses and at our community events. La Tienda has brought color, life, energy and a sense of community to both Eldorado and its surrounding neighborhoods.
We are inviting you to come down and help us celebrate this amazing accomplishment. Join us on Saturday, December 11 and be a part of a new way of doing business and a great community spirit.
For a full schedule of events and activites on December 11, click here.