Paseo de Peralta Faithworks Boutique offers cultural, religious items
There’s an interesting story behind most of the merchandise you’ll find in the eclectic Paseo de Peralta Faithworks Boutique, not to mention the interesting story behind the shop itself.
“I like things with a story behind them,” said Janna Rael-Serna, who runs the store, which features a variety of high-quality items made by local designers, crafters and artisans ranging from fine art to jewelry to tin and glass work to apparel and accessories to dolls and more, mixed in with home decor items, Christian-themed merchandise and carefully chosen antiques.
Technically, Paseo de Peralta is at O2 Zamora Lane in Peralta, but visually it’s at N.M. 47 and Peralta Boulevard. It’s located in an adobe-like earthen building that was put up in the 1930s and was a grocery run by the Aragon family.
The Aragons sold the store to Rael-Serna’s parents, and it was the Rael Grocery until the late 1970s, when it was closed. Since then, it’s been used as a residence, and for some time has been largely vacant.
“My mom and I started making bridal veils and first communion veils,” Rael-Serna said. “We started taking them around to various shops, but the problem was that most of the shops didn’t have the space to display them properly. We finally decided we needed to have our own store.”
The old family grocery store, still owned by her parents, seemed to be the logical place, but first it needed a lot of fixing up.
“We spend months working on it,” she said. “We worked hard to keep everything as original as possible,” including the original wood floors, wood ceiling beams, windows and fixtures. The result is a warm, inviting and cozy atmosphere.
“My husband, Tommy Serna, was the biggest blessing in getting this all completed because of his knowledge of carpentry and willingness to support me and help or do anything that needed to be done.
“He also custom made the sign work outside of the boutique by following my design,” she said. “Also, he is a wood carver and has some of his beautiful work in the boutique.
“The help of my family was also a huge factor in getting this done — my parents, brothers and their wives, in-laws and friends. It was very hard work but enjoyable to see it coming to fruition.”
The hard work shows.
“The remodel has worked well with the building,” she said. “It’s come to life.”
Rael-Serna, a former Christian-school teacher with previous retail and business ownership experience, said her vision for the store was a boutique like one would find in Santa Fe or Albuquerque’s Old Town, but with more reasonable prices.
“The name of the store is Paseo de Peralta Faithworks Boutique because time and time again through my life experiences, faith in the Lord has proven to work in my life,” she said. “I also wanted to highlight Peralta because it is where I am from. It means a walking path through Peralta, in this case.”
The boutique opened in October and enjoyed strong Christmas sales.
“It’s going good,” she said. “We’ve had a positive responsive from the community. People are glad we’ve got a shop like this where we can bring in local cultural items, like in Santa Fe and Old Town, in a Christian atmosphere.”
In fact, the store is exactly the type of business that Peralta Mayor Brian Olguin has said he would like to see line N.M. 47 from town limit to town limit, a vision Rael-Serna shares.
“I’d like to see it kind of like Madrid (N.M.),” she said. “Lots of local shops with local arts and crafts. Because of our success, I hope people will get encouraged to open up similar-type businesses.”
Rael-Serna said the town and surrounding area features a wealth of creative people who’ve been taking their products out of town to sell and are thrilled to now have a local outlet.
“There’s one woman who used to take all her items to Taos,” she said. “Now she brings it all here. She likes this better than Taos.”
She also noted a couple who raise Alpacas, who are now bringing the apparel they make from the animals’ wool to her shop rather than an out-of-town store.
Several painters are also having success in the boutique, along with local jewelry makers, a couple of women who make incredibly realistic dolls, apparel makers and even a woman who makes homemade jams and jellies.
For the most part, the local vendors rent space in her store, while she handles the sales end for them.
“It’s been just a great experience to work with all these talented people,” Rael-Serna said. “And I’m getting a lot of satisfaction in meeting the community and reconnecting with people.”
Best of all, she said, “Doing this with my parents involved has been the most rewarding thing.”
Paseo de Peralta is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The phone number is 505-869-9119.
Contact Dana Bowley