Business venture makes downtown its base

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Main Street entrepreneur and interior designer Ruth Nelson is going back to the future.

Nelson bought the Jennings Furniture store on Main Street, between 2nd and 3rd streets, and renamed it Pajarito Interiors.

She plans to have the big tan metal panels that have been covering the brick and tile fronts of her store removed.

Pointing to a picture of downtown from 1932, she says she hopes the storefront will look as it did years ago when downtown was in its prime.

At one time her storefronts were the home of J.C. Penney’s and The Sprouse-Reitz 5-10-15 cents store. And there was even a skating rink in the former Reitz section.

That’s also the idea behind “MainStreet,” an initiative sponsored by the New Mexico Economic Development Department and a program that the City of Tucumcari is heading toward.

But it’s a national movement, created 25 years ago by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to encourage “Revitalization of Your Commercial District” for all those American cities whose downtowns were decimated by the ability to go out to stores in the suburbs.

The idea is: Revitalize downtown. But “revitalization” is best accomplished by preservation and restoration. And that’s what Nelson said she is trying to do.

“I’m very supportive of anything we can do to bring back downtown,” said Nelson who bought the store about seven weeks ago.

She and her partner, Don Schutte, are also partners in the downtown venture.

Who is Ruth Nelson? She’s an interior designer who moved here three years ago and, for a time, was a staff member for the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation.
Nelson earned her degree from the University of Hawaii. She’s also lived in Oregon, where she worked as an interior designer specializing in the new home and commercial markets.

She also sees a possibility for growing that market in Tucumcari with the Ute Lake Ranch development. “Now that Ute is happening, my vision for business is the vacation home market.”

Meanwhile, she’s working on a new vision for the interior of the business, which she expects to finish in the fall. That will be just in time for the Christmas holiday market and when she plans to introduce short one-day classes on interior design and decor in her design center.

Nelson said she has wanted to see downtown change and in order for it to change, she said, “I decided I needed to do something about it.”