An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Rare treasure in Corrales bookstore

Booksellers Gary Wilkie and his wife, writer Marilyn Stablein, have opened a new bookshop, Acequia Booksellers, in Corrales. Shoppers in the north and west of Albuquerque and local Corraleños will now have a store of their own featuring fine used and rare books.

“We hope to provide exciting discoveries for customers in every price range—from unusual items in trade paperback format to truly rare inscribed and handmade books,” says Gary Wilkie, who has been a bookseller for over thirty years.

His first shop was in the North Beach area of San Francisco in the early seventies. In 1980, he opened a store in Seattle’s Belltown district, which is where he met Marilyn. Together, they most recently owned and operated Alternative Books, near Woodstock, New York, in the Hudson Valley.

Scattered among the shelves at Acequia Booksellers, visitors will find one of the strongest collections of twentieth-century poetry in the area, a large number of signed and inscribed books, a large Western Americana collection, twentieth-century art (including rare material from avant-garde movements), twentieth-century fiction (including many first editions and signed items), many rare items from 1700 to 1900, literary magazines, and a general collection of books in the areas of history, metaphysics, religion, photography, architecture, and much more.

Gary and Marilyn have extensive backgrounds in the literary and publishing worlds. Gary’s Workingman’s Press published Sad Dust Glories, a book of poetry by Allen Ginsberg; he also worked in book distribution and was a buyer for Bookpeople, in Berkeley, and the marketing director for the Anthroposophic Press, in Hudson, New York. Marilyn is the author of six books, most recently a memoir, Sleeping in Caves: A Sixties Himalayan Memoir. She also teaches writing and has founded a number of literary organizations, including a literary center in Seattle and a publishing network in New York.

Browsers are always welcome in the bookshop, and Gary is always interested in buying interesting books and collections.
Acequia Booksellers, 890-5365, 4436 Corrales Road, in Corrales, is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m.

High Desert Gardens offers unusual new service for the do-it-yourselfer

If you can’t afford to have your home professionally landscaped, then how can you do it yourself and still wind up with a professional-looking design?

Sure, you can call a landscape designer and pay to have your design drawn by a professional. Typical design services start at $50 per hour and go up from there. Minimum design time is around ten hours, but that could easily triple. For that kind of money you could buy a large part of the plants for your yard.

A few serious gardeners can do a passable job on their own, but they can’t hope to do as professional a job as someone that does thousands of designs over many years: a landscape designer-horticulturalist who actually draws plans, has a crew, and owns a nursery.

While living in Texas, Mike Dooley decided just to give his clients the design if they would buy the plants from the him. Mike knew that to make any money at this he had to do two things. First, he had to reduce the time involved in creating a design while maintaining the highest quality. Second, to compensate for the lost of the design fee, he had to increase volume.

He gave away around 150 designs in four months! Local radio and TV producers wanted interviews. He was given his own garden show on a local radio station. Finally, he was doing garden segments on the evening news in San Antonio.
He had solved a problem, provided a much-needed service, and even made a buck or two. Then he sold the idea and the business, moved to Rio Rancho, and started all over.

The revised and improved version of his innovative service involves the use of a special type of laptop computer created to help a designer produce a design in about thirty minutes, right in the client’s yard. The do-it-yourselfer can then use the plan to install the professional-looking design. To receive the free design, the client buys a voucher from High Desert Gardens for a minimum of $500 which can be used to buy plants, weed barrier, edger, or compost. Professional installation is also available.

The service is called Landscape Design Express. The kickoff is scheduled for fall planting. For more information, call Mike Dooley at 400-0257.

The best hardware store in the world

TaGrMo took over this designation when Mizener’s Hardware, along with almost every other small business on Main Street in my hometown, was driven out of business by the big-box stores. Mizener’s and TaGrMo had a lot in common: hundred-year-old building with wood floor and punched metal ceiling, friendly and helpful service, place in the community, etc.

The main difference is that TaGrMo is still in business after twenty-eight years in Bernalillo. Co-owner Helen Abousleman admits that her store has lost 20 percent of its business since Home Depot came to town last year, but says, “We’re thankful for the support of a lot of loyal customers who realize that we still offer better service and convenience. We check to make sure that our prices are competitive, and after all these years, we have learned to tailor the inventory to fit the needs of local residents.”

At any given time, any of the TaGrMo personnel, including owners and managers, may be helping customers on the floor. They include Helen’s husband, Ron, longtime Bernalillo town administrator, who recently retired from public service, and son Greg, a mechanical engineer who specializes in upgrading the computer systems.

Helen said that manager Karla Miera has worked at the store for twenty-five years and knows it “from top to bottom.” Helen also feels fortunate to have in her employ two former hardware-store owners who specialize in complete paint and plumbing departments.

True Value paints are highly rated by consumer studies, and TaGrMo has recently added a paint computer that can match color samples of any brand.

My favorite place in the store is the two full nail bins, where you can weigh out as little as a quarter pound while discussing a project with other shoppers or the ever present salespeople. You can select and buy just one nut or bolt from another aisle full of bins.

Helen says that True Value doesn’t dictate what merchandise is provided by the TaGrMo, so they have flexibility when special ordering and and don’t have to order items by the thousand. “People should realize that they can enjoy shopping and save time here. We’ll even help you load cement, lumber, and roofing materials.”

Studies show that of every $100 spent at local businesses, about $45 stays in the community, compared with $13 from a big box. For more information or to make sure they have what you want, call TaGrMo, at 867-3321.

New Sandoval County Small Business Development Center open for business

If you’ve been dreaming of opening a small business in Sandoval County or expanding your current business there, help is on the way. The brand new Sandoval County Small Business Development Center is up and running. The center is at 237 Camino Del Pueblo, in the Bernalillo Town Site. It shares space with UNM-Los Alamos Bernalillo Site. UNM-LA will act as the administrator of the Sandoval County SBDC.

The new center was made possible through a $150,000 grant from the state of New Mexico.

“The Sandoval County commissioners felt it vital to establish a full SBDC center in the county, and they authorized me to help obtain the funding,” said Gayland Bryant, Sandoval County director of public affairs. “We worked with the SBDC to support their recommendation to the state legislature. This will be a great thing for our county and we’re delighted that the legislature agreed with that opinion.”

Donna Wylie, director of tourism and economic development for Sandoval County, agreed. “We had strong support from our state legislators,” she said. “This a one-time grant. Within a year, we must prove that we’re up and running. We feel confident that the legislature will reauthorize funding. Sandoval County has been an underserved county and the potential here is enormous.”

Maria Rinaldi, Bernalillo’s director of community development, is looking forward to working the new SBDC. “The center is critical for business development and business expansion here in Bernalillo,” she said. “It’s something we’ve been desperately lacking.”

The Sandoval County SBDC has hired Howard J. “Ward” Hickey, Jr., as director and will add two business consultants and an administrative staff member soon. The future SBDC staff plans to visit all communities in the county. Hickey wants the people of Sandoval County to know that the office is open and invites community residents to stop in at their convenience. To contact Hickey, e-mail the Sandoval County SBDC at or call at 771-4071.





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