Armida Vallejos celebrates 25 years of style
by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG — When Armida Vallejo opened her small boutique in downtown Walsenburg on April 1, 1993, she never dreamed that, 25 years later, she would still be serving customers with her warm smile and drop-dead gorgeous merchandise.
Armida’s Boutique & Stuff opened when Armida retired from the large retailer where she worked and decided to open her own shop. She began with gift items and, within a week, needed to replenish her inventory.
Over the years, she expanded into women’s clothing, accessories, jewelry, and shoes. Her motto, “We only look expensive” has held true as her line of high quality merchandise has always been affordable. Her loyal customers come from as far away as Denver, Taos, Santa Fe, and all along the front range. Of course, the locals who have supported her through the good times, as well as the lean, love to see what’s new (and what’s on sale) at Armida’s. “I credit the locals with helping to keep the doors open,” she says, “They are the reason we are still here.”
Armida’s cleverly dressed windows and colorful awning drawn in locals and tourists alike. Once inside, her personalized service, warm smile, and pleasant conversation gives shoppers the experience they would find in a high end boutique, offering them something different every time they walk in the door.
There aren’t many businesses on Main Street that can claim being in business for a quarter century. Armida has found the right formula. Part of the reason she draws back return shoppers is because she is constantly moving merchandise. She travels twice a year to Las Vegas to bring home the latest fashions. With her incredible eye for style, she often has a particular customer in mind as she replenishes her inventory.
Armida’s husband Bob retired from Safeway after 40 years of employment. That was almost 25 years ago. He stepped into the clothing business 17 years later and has been a fixture ever since, along with the Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and Mickey Mouse memorabilia.
Many of the shops in downtown Walsenburg have closed and been replaced by antique and near-new shops, as Walsenburg redefines the way small town Main Street is doing business. For Armida and Bob, serving customers for twenty-five years isn’t about the economy but about the friendly service they provide as they greet everyone with a smile.
When asked about retirement Armida says, “Some days I think about retirement; some days I don’t.” For now, while she keeps the doors open, the only change she foresees is in the inventory. She is holding a 25th anniversary 25% off sale to commemorate this milestone, from March 29 through April 7.