On Stands Now
July 2024

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

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What do Chicharrón Burritos, More Organics and High School Interns Have in Common?

Photo by Martha Shepp: Some of the Questa Center Supermarket staff and owners (left to right) at your service: Emma Medina, Zachariah Munguia, Ofelia Martinez, Tara Hall, Esther Hall, and Jose Sandoval.

By Jennifer Paris

They all represent how Questa Center Supermarket is caring for the community.

The market in the center of Questa is well-named not only because is it in the very center of Questa, but it is the grocery store (and more!) that serves a much wider community, including the entire distribution area of this newspaper!

Esther Hall and her family have been working at the market since 1965, it has been family owned for over 50 years! During this time customers have become family and the Questa Center has also become a go-to place for meeting community needs.

I noticed the growing inventory of organic and natural foods offered and took the opportunity to ask Esther if this was a new focus for the store. “We try to meet the needs of the community, and we recognize that organic is an increasing need in our area,” said Esther. “We’ve added to the frozen and dairy products, and to the organic aisle. We carry organic choices for spinach and lettuces and some produce whenever possible.”

Questa Center is also meeting the needs of people who are long-time customers, temporary residents working on the mining site clean-up, tourists, and those new to the area. The deli provides quick meals for lunches, roasted chicken and ribs, sub platters and party trays, salads, and the well-loved Chicharrón burritos. The meat department specializes in finely ground beef, furnishes product to El Monte Carlo’s grill, and answers call-in orders for special cuts.
The market also participates in the work-study program at the high school. They train interns and prepare them for the wider job market after graduation. And the North Central Food Pantry can count on the market to store products that need to be refrigerated or frozen beyond the food pantry’s capacity. Customers with health or transportation challenges can call Questa Center for deliveries to either car or home!

The height of the pandemic was very challenging for the market, with extra cleaning and work to meet the state standards while seeing business reduced by about 50%. “Then two of the staff got COVID-19, which led to intense cleaning, closing the indoor shopping for two weeks, and being short-staffed, which put the burden on others.”
Esther shared that the emotional difficulty of losing long-time customers to illness was hard. Reflecting on the situation overall, Esther said, “The community has been very good to the market—patient and understanding during the difficulties—and we appreciate it. This has been a good business for our family and we give back as we can.”

Esther invites people to come in and see what’s on the shelves. And if there is something you’d like to see them carry regularly, just let her know. As always, there will be an earnest effort to meet customers’ and community needs.

Questa Del Rio News also appreciates the Market for being their number one distribution point for the newspaper. If you want extra copies of the paper, you can find them there. They are also a collection depot for the Caps for Cancer campaign. Plastic bottle caps are normally not recyclable, but if you want to save them and donate them to a good cause, they can be sold to raise money for cancer treatments for our neighbors south of the border, in Mexico.

Questa Center Supermarket and Deli is located at 5 Supermarket Road in beautiful downtown Questa, opposite what was once the Chevron gas station (it’s now Phillips 66). They are open seven days a week, from 8 am – 7 pm. Give them a call at (575) 586-0233 if you would like them to order your favorite products or have any questions.