Talon News - Good Local News

By Lisa Bailey


Opens new location near state line


February 24, 2017

Lisa Bailey

Michael at the storefront

Welcome to the newest location of Appaloosa Trading Post just two miles north of the New Mexico and Colorado border; a business whose abbreviated description might include western clothing, jewelry and furniture. However, it has enough eye candy to keep everyone from the passing tourist to the most discerning shopper busy for a long time! The items that immediately caught my eye were a banana seat bicycle with shocks and a reproduction of a vintage Indian motorcycle jacket. That was just the beginning though! Upon looking closer I recognized the layers of inventory and the beauty and intricacy of the displays and pieces. There are so many beautiful and unique things! Many of the works featured in the store have been hand made by owner Michael Gibson, or are created based on his designs. Others are re-purposed items which have been customized with his tooled leather design. Without a narrated tour I would have mistaken many of the details I was seeing - when you go, ask questions!

Many will remember the storefront formerly housing a business that primarily sold Spanish style pottery and furniture; it has been empty since 2009. Now it includes an old railroad car with a continuation of inventory and the front porch dons a variety of eclectic pieces. The site has always held a special appeal Gibson. Being a natural entrepreneur and savvy businessman with 40 years experience, he shared that he had been paying attention to this location, watching and expecting someone to develop it. However, when no one did and his own circumstances fell into place it seemed to be the right choice for him. He had not really planned to open another store, but this one lent itself to the same image of his other storefronts, and even after liquidating many items from the closing of his stores in Durango, Telluride and Hermosa he still had a substantial inventory. Hence the newest Appaloosa Trading Co. was born. Michael has many long time customers who will follow him and expects the peak tourist seasons to supplement sales. He also recognizes that most San Juan County, New Mexico residents make trips to La Plata County, Colorado and visa versa, on a regular basis. He hopes to capture all these audiences with continued visibility.

As a boy Michael was captivated by the stories of an old man he met near an Oklahoma truck stop where his dad had found temporary work as a mechanic. The man shared adventures of having ridden horse-back alone from Yellowstone to Rocky Mountain National Park during the 1930's and being a B-52 tail gunner in Europe during World War II. Michael still reminisces fondly of this encounter. He says he always wished he had been able to find this man again, that he might properly thank him for a gift he gave without even knowing. The gift a twelve year old Michael was given was that of a passion, and ultimately a career in leather work. Michael has had the privilege of spending the entirety of his career, and most of his life, doing something he loves!

Lisa Bailey

Purse and wallet

Michael reflected on this man and his journeys as being fascinating. Frankly though, listening to Michael's story, I find his journeys similarly profound. Besides being a natural entrepreneur, he is versed not only as an artist but a businessman. He designs, manufactures and wholesales. Perusing the store inventory all these attributes are evident. His craftsmanship is impressive, his artisan pieces can be produced in a small factory he oversees off site and he has marketed to other dealers worldwide as a wholesaler for nearly 40 years! He refers to the romance of the West. I am afraid that many of us that live here take that for granted. The rugged terrain, piercing blue skies, abundant waters; and now, the perfect shopping spot for all things western, lodge, eclectic, beautiful and special - Appaloosa Trading Co.


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