Retail Therapy

Exploring the local character through shopping

Since long before it was incorporated as a town, Pagosa Springs, and the whole of Archuleta County, has experienced the booms and busts associated with numerous industries, including trading between Hispanics and Native American tribes, prospectors seeking gold, lumber mills and railroads. Over time, the flags of several nations have flown over the area, and multiple Native American tribes have inhabited the region.

But, through it all, Pagosa Springs stood firm, not falling to the same fate as many towns now listed as ghost towns.

Instead, Pagosa grew into a mountain town better known to many for its natural resources and wealth of public lands than its former industries.

Thanks to the varied history and natural beauty and resources in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County, Pagosa — the county seat — now not only stands firm, but is packed with character, much of which is reflected in the goods you’ll find for sale throughout town.

Shopping in the Pagosa Springs area, though, can be a treat in and of itself.

From cabin decor to signs that embody your views on life, natural products of all sorts, on-trend apparel and quirky T-shirts, unique pajamas, western wear and goods that epitomize the western way of life, handmade jewelry with a southwestern flair, antiques, art and seasonal sporting goods, you’ll find it and more in Pagosa Springs.

And where you find the goods might surprise you. For example, you’ll find coffee shops and what you might think is a hardware store that carry things like home goods, clothes, toys and more.

And that’s part of the fun: heading into a shop not knowing what might be around the next corner or what perfect gift you’ll find for a loved one (or for yourself!). Even if you’ve been to a shop before, it’s likely to be an adventure next time, too, since business owners like to keep things fresh and new. Or, in the case of antique stores, something you’ve never seen before or haven’t seen in years.

And, in true small-town style, you won’t often find the people working the stores (often the owners themselves) simply waiting at the register for you to bring them money. Instead, they’re often striking up conversations, finding that shirt in just the right size for someone, or letting someone know that if they don’t have what you want, where in town will. In short, they’re usually going above and beyond to make the shopping experience the best it can be for their customers.

And while you’re walking in between shops, you can admire and explore parts of Pagosa’s past — like the former hotel that now houses shops and offices and the historic movie theater — just check for signs around the buildings indicating their historical significance.

Shopping in Pagosa, like much of our county’s history and current character, is about exploration — seeing what’s around the next corner.

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