The Mexican Shack to Close After 47 Years
Owner Steve Delzio shares his thoughts on retirement after nearly five decades in the jewelry industry.
He was on a journey to learn more about Native American and Mexican culture, but his parents’ 25th anniversary celebration beckoned him back to his hometown of Somers, New York.
Delzio planned to sell his trinkets to fund his trip, and the response from buyers was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that he found himself traveling out west again to stock up.
He spent two years forging relationships with Native American artists, making several trips a year to Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico.
In 1975, Delzio rented a 600-square-foot space in his hometown to sell his haul, stocked with everything from hand-painted clay pots to turquoise jewelry.
He dubbed his store “The Mexican Shack.”
Delzio’s venture was successful, and in 1989, construction began on a new, larger property.
In 1990, the new Mexican Shack opened, with more than 4,000 square feet of space. More than 30 years later, he still refers to it as the “new store.”
It may seem an unconventional name for a jewelry store, but when he polled his customers about renaming the new store, they insisted he keep it.
Next month, 47 years after its opening, The Mexican Shack will hold a retirement sale.
“We’ve had a good 47 years. So I just thought it was time to sit back,” Delzio said in an interview with National Jeweler.
Delzio is approaching 70 and he, and his longtime staff, are ready to call it a day.
While the store may be closing, Delzio isn’t exactly retiring.
“I do look forward to starting an online presence. Nothing crazy. I just want to get up in the morning, put a couple of pieces online and see what happens and go from there,” he said.
He’d also like to exhibit at some smaller shows, reaching out to customers on his email list to let them know where he’ll be.
Running a retail store requires long hours, and Delzio said he’s ready to set his own schedule.
But it’s a bittersweet moment.
“I am going to miss my customers so much,” he said.
Delzio shared news of his retirement sale on the store’s social channels, including Facebook and Instagram, and the response from customers moved him to tears.
“I'm sitting down here in Florida. We took a week off, came down here and I’m on the beaches in tears, [knowing] that we touched people’s lives in such a way,” he said.
“My customers are my customers, and [they are also] my friends and family. We’ve had a long, long ride together.”
One woman wrote to him, frantic that he now wouldn’t be able to make her wedding ring.
“I said, ‘I’ll take care of you. Don’t worry.’ And she said, ‘Oh, you made my day,’” recalled Delzio.
When Delzio returns from Florida, he’ll take a trip to New York’s Diamond District on 47th Street, a weekly tradition he’ll miss, to inform longtime friends and colleagues that he’ll be closing his store and won’t be around as often.
When his customers think of The Mexican Shack, Delzio hopes they’ll remember how involved he and his family have been with the community.
In 2017, the Somers Chamber of Commerce honored Delzio for his years of contributions to the community, highlighting his commitment to education and the preservation of historical artifacts.
The store has been featured in The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles several times.
“The high quality Indian jewelry designs and materials, along with fine craftsmanship, attracts a devoted following. Their pieces reflect an inherent awareness of popular culture, while still paying tribute to their cultural [roots],” wrote the publication, as per the store’s website.
The store is closed for vacation as of May 16, with the retirement sale set to begin June 1.
“It’s just a very unique business. Very, very unique. And it’s different. I’m really proud of it,” said Delzio.
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