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Re: [Orchid] [Press Release] Rio Grande Grows Into the Future
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John and Jo-Ann Donivan Friday, January 04, 2013
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    Dear Molly, Well said. And congratulations on making what I'm sure
    was a difficult decision for everyone. Way back in the dark ages- the
    early 70's - I got my first, paying jewelry job. It was on Central
    Ave. in Albuquerque, right on the corner of Edith Blvd. It wasa
    startup company called "The Squash Blossom". Nobody knew at the time
    that it was the beginning of the boom years for turquoise, native
    American jewelry and other products. Out the front door, to the
    corner of Edith and down half a block was a tiny little shop called
    "Rio Grande Jewelry Supply". I apologize to Molly if I have the names
    wrong, but as I recall it was run by a man named Saul Bell and two of
    his sons. It was maybe 500 square feet in the showroom, and packed
    full of stuff. No catalog that I ever saw. Our company boomed, and at
    least once a week we were over there buying silver and whatever else.
    I usedto make the run with one of the partners, buying 1000 ounces
    every week ( AT  $2.20, in those days). I remember buying some gold from
    Saul for a job, never having worked gold in my life, and he gave me a
    bit of a hard time because I didn''t know WTF I was talking about.
    The younger Bells I was aquainted with but not really friends and I'm
    sorry I forget their names now. We all flew like rockets in those
    days - Squash Blossom bought an old convent with 25,000 square feet
    or something, put in a machine shop, heavy duty casting and a fine
    lapidary shop, which I ran. Rio Grande, after a time, moved to a huge
    building on Washington St. and expanded greatly and went into mail
    order, too. You could go there at the time, and then they had some
    trouble and went mail order only. Today I don't know about that, as I
    haven't physically been there in years. The point being that, like
    many things, there was a time when Rio Grande was a mom-and-pop
    vendor for the local trade and it was just a little shop you went to.
    Today it is the major corporation that most readers here know about,
    which to my mind means that it's just not any fun anymore. Instead of
    standing at the counter chatting with Charles Loloma, the owners are
    dealing with accountants and proofs of the next catalogs and who
    knows what all else. Time to retire, time to do what floats your own
    boat, and if you get a fine offer from a fine outfit like Berkshire
    or affiliates, jump on it.

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