HOLTVILLE — Bringing a bit of diversity to Holtville’s downtown, a combination crafts gallery and exercise space has opened at 128 W. Fifth St.
Owner Andres Garcia purchased the building 11 years ago and re-launched the space on Nov. 26 as the Garcia Gallery and Events Center. He has invited in several craft producers who work booths at the Imperial Valley Mall, though just a few appeared the first week owing to busy plans for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Garcia previously operated a crafts/jewelry shop at the location but for the past five years leased it to the Holtville Tribune/Calexico Chronicle/Imperial Valley Weekly.
“I’m just trying to see what can be established. I’m lining up most of them (15 vendors) and hopefully it’ll work out,” said Garcia. “My candles (scented table candles) are all Gold Canyon. And when we are not here selling our merchandise, the building will be used for Zumba dance class and a tai chi instructor/message therapist.”
Eclectic Merchandise and Service
Garcia and the other vendors will be selling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Then, Constancio Torres, a certified therapist in massage and a kung fu/tai chi instructor will hold class on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Also at that time will be Zumba dance instruction by another certified professional, Jackie LM.
Joining Garcia on Nov. 26 was Ismael Garcia (no relation), selling religious artifacts, gifts and paintings of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe.
In addition, there was Maura Olea, a jewelry maker from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, who hand-crafted bracelets and necklaces with a diverse mix of beads, stones and metals. The following day, Nov. 27, Isabel Garcia, Ismael’s sister, arrived with her collection of bracelets, necklaces earrings and home accessories.
“I’ll reduce prices on all the jewelry because I’d like to move the merchandise,” she said. “I like the different styles I’m able to offer and one-of-a-kind pieces.”
A unique item Isabel produces is a silk or cloth scarf that incorporates a pendant clasp to thread both ends of the scarf. It is called a Pashmina and is associated with the cities of Guadalajara and Leon.
“I love December because it is the birthday of our Lady of Guadalupe,” she said.
Return to Glory Sought
Collaborating with his fellow craft professionals, Andres Garcia hopes to stimulate a revival in Holtville commerce it enjoyed before Interstate 8 was completed and travelers seemed to gradually ignore the previous robust diversity of shops that existed in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Garcia noted he is glad to be back in his building and excited about bringing in the community to sample special items and join in events.
“I hope to bring people back to downtown Holtville because we have a lot of empty lots,” he said. “We want to make downtown more inviting and revive the family community feel. I love my ‘peeps.’ I grew up here and Holtville is my town.”
Candles, he explained, are a top sell.
“I’ve been selling Gold Canyon Candles for 15 years and they’re known throughout the (Imperial) Valley,” he said. “I’m known for specializing in the 26- ounce size, the largest. It costs a little more than the 16 ounce, $27, instead of $24, yet it is the best for the value.”
This story is featured in the Dec 05, 2019 e-Edition.