The new owner of the Questa Supermarket has officially set his sights on an opening date for the newly renovated business.
“We’re aiming for November 11,” Dominick Apodaca, grandson of original owners Gomersindo and Ofelia Martinez, tells the Questa del Rio News.
A 2011 graduate of Questa Junior/Senior High School, Dominick grew up in the family business seeing his mom, Debra Martinez, work and maintain the operation while his uncle and stepdad were overseas in the early 2000s.
Dominick is no stranger to hard work. “I worked with MTC Trucking and Rust Constructors at the Questa Mine, then went on to work with Brandenburg on the demolition at the mine. I was laid off in 2019 and decided to head to Colorado to work in the oil and gas industry,” he says.
Working his way up to a supervisor position, it was difficult to get his employer in Colorado to accept that he planned to move back home to Questa. “They were trying to offer me as much time as I needed to take care of family business, they just didn’t want me to leave. But I knew it was time. I needed to come home so I can carry the family business forward,” he says.
Moving back to Questa at the beginning of September, the work hasn’t stopped. “We hit the ground running and have been working to get the store renovated so we can reopen. It’s been stressful, there’s a lot of pressure — but I am just thankful I have my mom, stepdad, brother, sister-in-law and Daryl Hall helping me every step of the way,” he says. The family is working as a team to complete all the renovations themselves.
When asked what type of upgrades people can expect to see in the newly renovated store, he was quick to point out the new exterior color. “I painted it red, because I changed the name. We will be called the Sangre de Cristo Valley Market moving forward, so the red color is a nod to the name.”
As for other changes, Dominick has a big vision for the store. “I am hopeful to work with local farmers and ranchers to get local organic products in the store. I also want to sell smoked meats to customers. I am exploring the potential for having fresh pizza and calzones as well,” he says. “I want to have what the people want to buy, not what they’re forced to buy — that’s my biggest goal,” he continues.
While he couldn’t immediately disclose his plans for the former Hillcrest Bank location inside the store, he says he’s hoping to incorporate some type of fish and tackle operation in this section.
In reference to his grandma, he says she gets emotional seeing the work being done to bring their once booming family business back to life. “When my grandma tells me that my grandpa would be proud of me, that hits me, because I realize she chose me to carry our family’s business forward.”
While looking to the future, Dominick is optimistic for what he believes he can do for the community. “The people of this area deserve more. This place has been a staple for our community for generations and I am proud that I was able to step away from big money in Colorado to come back to my home and invest in my family business this way.”
With the soft opening planned for November 11, Dominick says he hopes to be able to hire on staff in the store in the months following. “I am still working on setting up social media for the new store, but if anyone is interested in working at the store, they can come by and get an application.”
Hours for the new operation have not yet been confirmed, however, but he’s hopeful to open doors earlier than 7 a.m. to ensure people who are making the daily drive to Taos can stop there if they need to.