R&R Market

 

 

 Video courtesy of CBS4
Year Listed: 2019
County: Costilla
Construction Date: 1857
Threat When Listed: Challenging Rural Economic Conditions, Deterioration, Weatherization
Status: ALERT

 

R&R Market is the oldest continuously operated business in the State of Colorado, dating from its establishment in 1857 in the town of San Luis by Costilla County pioneer Dario Gallegos. The building was partially rebuilt after fires in 1895 and 1947 and is a contributing building to the San Luis de la Culebra National Historic District, listed under the themes of Hispano history, San Luis history, early trade and commerce, and politics. The R&R Market is a classic example of a family owned “legacy business” that is integral to the identity and economic viability of the community. While there is no immediate danger of the building being demolished, its closure as a business would not only  end an important part of history in the state, but it would deprive this small, isolated community of its source of healthy food. San Luis and the surrounding villages can be considered a food desert, with major outlets being 16 or even 40 miles away. R&R Market is an important heritage site and, on a practical level, a save will mean retention of a much-needed source of healthy food for the community. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a timeless and beautiful place where the past so informs the future as San Luis, which is such a timeless and beautiful place in part because it was built around the R&R Market.”-Lisa May– EPP Nomination Reviewer

The building housing R&R Market was originally constructed of adobe bricks and has subsequently been modified with a combination of concrete block, plaster and stucco construction. The ground floor is the market and the upstairs includes rental units which were once part of a hotel. The original mercantile business was opened by Dario Gallegos in May, 1857, in a building 20 feet wide by 40 feet long, made of 25-inch adobe walls, with a foundation of rock with mud mortar. Today the building is a beautiful two-story log and stucco building in the Territorial Adobe style common to many plaza buildings that date back hundreds of years. The building retains its dignity and beauty despite cracks in the stucco, red roof tiles that are crumbling, and water damage to soffits. 

R&R Market still operates as a general store with groceries, hardware and other merchandise. It is owned and operated by Felix and Claudia Romero, who are descendants of the original owners and are now in their 70s. The Romero’s have 5 full time employees and support area farmers by selling local produce and meats. The site has received much state and national attention, including a feature article in 2017 in the New York Times, that highlighted the challenge of family business transitions in a struggling rural economy. In San Luis this means finding a local buyer who can qualify for a loan, which is a challenge. Costilla County Commissioners, the Town of San Luis, and the Costilla County Economic Development Council stand ready to partner with CPI to save both the business and its use as a general store and food market. In some ways there may be no more historic site in Colorado than the R&R market in San Luis. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".