Ben Trujillo’s family roots are deeply intertwined with Taos’ history. His grandmother’s first cousins were Josefa Jaramillo, who married Kit Carson, and María Ignacia Jaramillo, who married Gov. Bent.
“When I walk by [Kit Carson Home and Museum] or pass by the house where Gov. Bent was scalped and killed, I am reliving my family’s past,” he said. “That gives me a special sense of belonging to Taos.”
Trujillo was also part of the contemporary local scene with the former Hacienda Inn, which he owned for around 20 years, and The Far West Club, a night club attached to it.
“Many bands, like Savor, Mezcal and Darren Cordova’s used to play there,” he said. “It was a very nice place where people would celebrate weddings and graduations. Many still remember it.”
He also owned a restaurant, Magdalena’s, named after his grandmother, Magdalena Jaramillo Trujillo.
Besides all that, Trujillo was a builder for more than 30 years.
“I have done many things in my life,” he said. “I’ve kept active.”
Around three years ago, Trujillo decided to open a consignment store after the Magistrate Court that used to be in that space moved to the new Taos County Administrator and Judicial Complex.
The store, Taos Fine Consignments & More, is a 10,000-square-foot building with an eclectic collection of household items, furniture, jewelry and artwork.
“We carry more art than many galleries in town,” Trujillo said. “And very reasonably priced – all of them.”
He points to several R.C. Gorman and Picasso lithographs.
“I don’t think you can find any other Picasso lithograph for sale in Taos,” he said. “We also carry originals by local award-winning artist Miguel Martinez. I have traveled all over the world and now own a good art collection. Many of the art pieces we sell here have been purchased in faraway places, like handmade icons from St. Petersburg and paintings from Venetia, Italy.”
Trujillo visited Cuba recently and says there is some Cuban artwork coming soon.
Taos Fine Consignments & More carries both used and new furniture.
“I have everything you need to furnish an entire house: living room, dining room, bedrooms and kitchen,” Trujillo said.
A small room is decorated like a dining area, complete with a porcelain tea set on the table, vintage china in the cabinets and paintings hanging from the wall.
There are beds, dressers, desks, sofas (of all sizes and materials), leather couches and armchairs, plus an organ and a baby grand piano.
“I take items on consignment or just buy them outright,” Trujillo said. “There are many expensive things, like a beautiful antique doll that would cost several hundred dollars if you were to buy it in an antique store, but you can get it here for a fraction of its price.”
He also has an ample collection of antique guns.
Among the pieces that Trujillo has brought from Mexico are some antique retablos and a statue of the Virgin Mary (la Guadalupana) that came from Michoacan.
“I also have handcrafted Mexican cabinets,” he said. “They are pieces of art themselves.”
It would take a while to review the many kachinas, Navajo rugs, the selection of Hopi pottery and the counters that exhibit jewelry, both modern and vintage.
“I invite people to come by and see what I have here,” Trujillo said. “This is more than a regular consignment store. Here, I have something for everybody, algo para el gusto de todos.”
Effective thrift shopping takes time and energy, but it can be a very gratifying experience — financially and emotionally. Here are some tips to make secondhand shopping (also known as op-shopping) more fun and rewarding:
Visit secondhand and consignment stores whenever seasons change. That’s when people get rid of things they don’t want or need anymore.
Pass by the stores often since good merchandise tends to be sold quickly.
Consider the cost of repairs, resizing and reupholstering.
When shopping for furniture, make sure you have a good idea of how much space you have to place it.
Go shopping with plenty of time to sort out the merchandise and rummage around.
Taos Fine Consignments & More is located at 920-A Salazar Road.
Phone: (575) 758-3494.
See Page C4 for a story in Spanish.