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June 2024

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Costilla’s Historic Duran’s Gas Station Is Up For Sale

Duran’s Gas and Grocery Store is Costilla’s one-stop shop for gas and groceries within a 20-mile radius. The store was built in 1976, when current owner, Alma Duran’s father, established the business to serve the rural northern Taos County and southern Colorado communities. Located at Highways 522 and 196, in the heart of the beautiful Rio Costilla valley, the business has been carefully and thoughtfully maintained inside and out, with its most recent renovation in 2022.

After more than 48 years of business within the same family, the owners have decided to put the operation up for sale.

Purchasing the business in 1991 from her parents, Alma says she knew it was time to take over the family business. “At that time, I was working as a dental hygienist in Taos and my parents were getting ready to retire. My siblings and I grew up working in the store. My brother ran it for a year, but then I decided to take it over and purchased it from my parents in 1991,” Alma says.

Over the years, she along with her husband Demecio (Nemie) have devoted much of their life and time to making the family business a success, carrying on her parents legacy through their work.

In 2016, Alma and her husband were ready to retire and decided to sell the store to her cousin from Pueblo. After three short years, her cousin unexpectedly passed away, leaving the store to return to Alma and Nemie. “We were enjoying our time retired, but when that happened, something no one expected, we took the store back over and ran it, making major upgrades and improvements,” she says.

Now, after having the store back for eight years, Alma says she is officially ready to sell the family business and transition into semi-retirement with her husband. “I think we hoped our kids would take it over, especially our daughter Jannifer who has been a godsend the past few years, running the store and taking care of everything… but there are different obstacles to that. Our kids have careers and lives. Owning a store is a big commitment and we serve our community seven days a week, so we feel selling it to a buyer is going to be the best thing for our family.”

Marialuz Duran, daughter of Alma and Nemie, spoke with our publication about her experience growing up in the gas station. Marialuz is an engineer and was dispatched to Alaska on assignment at the time of our interview.

“The store has been a huge part of my life, I basically grew up there. The history of the store is very meaningful to me because my grandparents built, owned and operated the store for many years,” Marialuz says fondly.

While many of her memories are entrenched in happy memories, visiting with community members and building relationships with the staff, she says Fridays stand out as a day she hated growing up. “Not many kids would say they hated Fridays, but I did because they were ‘grocery days.’ That means we would get new shipments of food and my mom would put me to work, opening up boxes, pricing items and stocking the shelves. It was such a chore,” she says. Now looking back, Marialuz laughs, saying they weren’t actually so bad.

Another fond memory Marialuz carries is the morning cafecito her dad and other elder members of the community would have every morning, where they’d drink coffee, eat donuts. and catch up on current events while reminiscing about the old times. “Nowadays, gas stations are owned by corporations which are pushing small family businesses aside. It’s rare to find many friendly faces of people enjoying their morning cup of coffee inside these fast-paced hustle and bustle corporate gas stations,” she says.

Growing up, helping her parents run the much-admired business, Duran says her experiences helped shape her into the person she is today. “I saw my parents put in a lot of work into the business to make it what it is today. During high school, college, and summers, I had my own shift and worked at the store. At one point I helped my mom do the orders and paperwork. This experience really opened my eyes to the amount of dedication it takes to run your own business, while also teaching me responsibility and a good work ethic. Running your own business is not easy, it takes a lot of hard work. That dedication is why my mom has a legacy she is leaving to the store, of a structurally strong business which serves its community.”

When it comes to selling the multigenerational business her family has worked so hard to make successful, Marialuz has mixed feelings. “It’s a hard one for me. In many ways it makes me sad because it has been a huge part of my life growing up, but I know my parents need to enjoy their retirement. Some days I think to myself ‘maybe I should move back home and take over,’ but I really do love my engineering career and where I’m at in life. My sisters and I have different career paths and we’ve come to accept that is okay. We will always cherish our memories in the store. I just hope the next owners will enjoy the business and cherish it just as much as we have.”

The Duran family has worked hard to keep this high-quality gas station running to serve the northernmost part of Taos County and southern Colorado. It’s proven to be a successful establishment for generations and they are looking for the next owners to carry the business forward.

Alma says she is incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the loyal customers from Costilla, Amalia, Garcia, and beyond. In the words of her father, “the people are the backbone of the business, and you can’t be successful without local support.”

The business is listed with realtor Ryan Trujillo with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Taos Real Estate. To schedule a viewing of this investment opportunity, you can contact Ryan directly via cell at (575) 770-8650.