On Stands Now
June 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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George Weiss, Five Star Cabinets

Photo by Lou McCall: George Weiss and Gerald Henderson of Five Star Cabinets in Questa.

George Weiss, of Five Star Cabinets, has been making fine wooden cabinets and furniture in Questa for decades. He first came to Taos in 1970 from New York, and moved to Questa the following year. Three years later, he left New Mexico to live in San Francisco, where he learned all aspects of remodeling. He returned to Questa ten years later, in 1985, to launch his own business—Five Star Remodeling. George thought that (remodeling) was the direction his career path would take. But over the years, he has dropped remodeling from his business name, to concentrate mostly on cabinets and furniture.

Early on, George started working alongside Roberto Vigil of Lama, a skilled furniture maker and woodcarver who became George’s mentor. George laughs when he tells the story about him and Roberto loading up the truck with samples of their cabinets and driving around to job sites soliciting work. They got busy and stayed busy. Area contractors still call George for custom cabinets, staircases, and furniture.

George also credits the late Malaquias Rael, Sr. a very talented woodworker, for teaching him more about the trade. When Mr. Rael retired from Questa Lumber and Hardware, he was able to spend more time doing woodwork with his brother, Eugenio Rael, a contractor. Together the brothers taught carpentry and woodworking skills to returning GIs, a very valuable service. And George learned alot from them.

Jay’s Unique Thrift Shop was once George’s first wood shop in Questa. He then moved to his current location, the small building in front of Questa Center Supermarket, and has been there for 30 years.

One day Daniel Clothier, who had just moved to Questa from Wyoming, saw the Supermarket sign outside George’s shop and came in looking for groceries. As it turned out, he needed cabinets for his new house, too, and to this day George and Daniel are the best of friends. Ruth and Daniel Clothier said, “Our kitchen was a disaster when we moved into our home. We had to remove the cabinetry (and floors), and when we were ready for cabinets, George came out and custom-designed ours. He installed them very quickly, and we were entertained by George and his helper at the time—two funny (and very efficient) guys. We still enjoy our cabinets after 17 years, and would not hesitate to recommend his work, the quality of the cabinets, and his sense of professionalism (and humor).”

Vicki Duncan, another satisfied customer, says, “George is beyond talented—his skills and creativity are amazing! On top of all that, he is a truly good person. The kitchen cabinets he built for us are beautiful, functional, and obviously built with love.”

George’s handiwork can be found throughout our region, including Taos, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Colorado, and of course, the Questa area. Now about 90 percent of George’s work is kitchen, bathroom, and office cabinets, while the rest is furniture.

Over the years, quite a few people from the Questa area have worked for George and he is still friends with all of his ex-employees (even those he fired!). Several now have shops of their own. It makes him feel good that some are working professionally or building things for their family and friends.

Gerald Henderson of Costilla has been working with George since he was 17. He came to Five Star in his final year at Questa High School as a work-study student. George describes Gerald as “the whole package:” smart with a wonderful work ethic, artistic, honest, with good communication and people skills. As well, George appreciates that Gerald is a strategic thinker when it comes to planning projects. Gerald has spent nearly half his life working with George: he turns 34 in April and is a fine wood craftsman in his own right.

Do you need custom cabinets? You can find them, right here in Questa. Call George Weiss of Five Star at (505) 204-6527; weissguy@newmex.com. You can stop by the shop at 2381 Highway 522 in Questa, right under the Questa Center Supermarket sign. Tell him the Questa Del Rio News sent you!