When Marcy Street Card Shop owners Rick and Roberta Remington announced they'd be closing after 40 years and launched a going-out-of-business sale in January, Santa Fe went into a tizzy.
"It was such an uproar over us closing," Rick says, noting that he and his wife are the third set of owners to run the store and have done so for 15 years. "We'd been in the community for a long time and I've seen stores come and go, and I have never seen such an outpour from the community."
The store had been located in the Cortez building on Marcy Street home since 1978, and has always been a papyrophile's dream with artful greeting cards organized by occasion, colorful giftwrap and bags, as well as an assortment of knick-knacks and gifts. But when the building changed ownership, the new landlords drastically increased the rent.
"The Denver corporation that bought [the building] raised the rent beyond what we could pay," explains Rick. "So we very nicely told them that we just couldn't make the numbers work and that we would not be able to stay."
The proposed lease would have seen the rent double, but the increases didn't stop there. The Remingtons were asked to sign an open-ended lease, meaning the price wasn't locked in long-term and would rise every year following, but as word spread, customers rallied.
"They were upset. Some people said they were going to talk to the mayor at that time," Roberta recalls.
"We had customers that stomped into [The New Mexican]," Rick adds.
Roberta nods and continues, "That's how word got out. Customers went down there and said, 'You gotta do something about this.'"
At that point the Remingtons had searched for months for another location, but resigned themselves to an early closure and retirement.
"It was going to have to be something in our comfort zone and in our price range, and we just couldn't find anything," Rick explains, saying that he wasn't willing to move the store to Cerrillos Road because he feels the downtown-adjacent location is part of its charm.
But the public outcry had been loud enough to alert Tesoros Trading Company owner Jonathan Williams who offered up space on Canyon Road next to his business at a reasonable rate. The Remingtons decided retirement could wait. The store officially opened its new location (202 Canyon Road, 982-5160) in April.
The sign outside now reads "Marcy Cards and Gifts," but the spirit of the little shop with the blue door remains. Rick and Roberta still pride themselves on the large stock of cards, including a large selection of Christmas cards that are now available year-round. Rick says that, as far as he's aware, it's the state's largest inventory of holiday cards featuring designs by local artists.
And the move came with other bonuses. For one, a better layout. Whereas the shop once occupied a crowded space, its inventory is now spread out over four rooms, allowing customers to get a better look at all that's offered.
"[Customers] love the new location," Rick says. "The way it's laid out they think we've increased the product lines and the amount of everything. And actually, the store's a little bit smaller than the other store and we've had to shrink a few little things."
Customers are finding their way to the new location.
"Every day people come in and tell us, 'Oh I'm so glad I found you,'" Rick says. "My biggest concern was that our very loyal out-of-town customers would find us because there's a lot of people that when they come to Santa Fe, they make this a destination."
One of those loyal out-of-town customers is Arizona, resident David Schwarz, who lives in Phoenix but visits his Santa Fe timeshare often.
"I hadn't been here to Santa Fe in four years, and I walked over to Marcy Street the other day and it wasn't there," he explains. "Hopefully everybody else will miss it enough to look it up, because here it is."
Schwarz says he stocks up on at least a year's worth of greeting cards every time he visits.
"I would have been really disappointed if [the store] had just closed," he adds.
The Remingtons say their commute from Albuquerque to Santa Fe is still worth it.
"You know if it hadn't been this store with these customers… I wouldn't drive to Santa Fe every day for 15 years now," Rick says. "It's about our customers, and they come in here and they laugh and have a good time. That's why we come to work every day."