Sometimes the hardest thing is not being able to say goodbye.
After 20 years of selling Native American-made jewelry, sand paintings, fetishes, pottery and dream catchers, the owners of Taos Trading Co. in Manitou Springs will close their store in mid-March because their lease is ending and the building's owner wants the space.
Alexander Guerra said it is a "bittersweet" time for he and his wife, Charlotte. The two are moving to Raleigh, N.C., to be with their three daughters and six grandchildren, but the spring closing means they'll miss the return of summer clients who have consistently come from across the nation to shop at their store.
"One couple in particular started coming in 20 years ago, said Charlotte Guerra, "and his son was 10 at the time. Now he is an engineer and is married with his own child."
Alexander Guerra's father started the Taos Trading Co. after moving to Manitou in 1982. Alexander and Charlotte Guerra took over the business 20 years ago when his father and mother moved to Florida.
The Guerras hope to move to North Carolina in early summer if they can get their house sold by then, and they may open a jewelry store in Raleigh, said Alexander Guerra, who began his jewelry career more than 35 years ago.
In the meantime, everything in the store is on sale, including the shelves and most fixtures.
Alexander Guerra said the forced closing of the store may have been the push he and his wife needed to change their lifestyle.
"I think it is about time we moved closer to the grandkids, rather than just flying back-and-forth twice a year," he said.
Still, with each beginning comes an end, and the Guerras are saddened they will not be in Manitou to greet their regular summer customers and explain why they closed the store.
"We will miss saying goodbye," Alexander Guerra said.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275