One of the last remaining bits of old Albuquerque history is going away as an iconic store along Central is getting ready to close up shop.
Central Avenue used to be the place to be. It was where people shopped and met, but now, Skip Maisel’s Indian Jewelry and Crafts, a staple since the 60s, is shutting down.
“I got some silver necklaces, so I could put beads and different things on them myself,” said Deb Curley.
Curley is an out-of-towner. During her visit to Albuquerque, she was looking forward to shopping at some of our more historic stores on Central Avenue. But as she walked into Skip Maisel’s Indian Jewelry and Crafts, she was greeted with this ‘going out of business’ sign.
“I’m really sad to see they’re closing it,” said local Liz Madrid.
The store has been around for decades, selling unique Native American goods, becoming a place to stop by in Albuquerque.
“Part of me coming back is visiting Maisels and talking to the guys at the men’s hat shop, that’s a big part of it,” said Clarence Brooks.
The giant yellow sign draping over this iconic store is a symbol that almost all of Central Avenue’s established stores are no longer around. Back in its heyday, downtown’s Central Avenue was the place to be. Locals would rush to the stores for their Christmas shopping and fill the streets for parades.
“[There was] another music company, ‘Mayes Music Company,’ they were adjacent to [Skip Maisel’s] and of course the Men’s Hat Shop that’s been here for 70 plus years or so,” said Brooks remembering old stores. “That’s just been a part of our heritage growing up.”
Now, Central has a much different look, places like the old Kress building are boarded up or are filled with newer and modern shops and restaurants. For locals, Skip Maisel’s was one of the last bits of old Central Avenue that helped them reminisce the good old days.
“It makes me sad because that was one of the original buildings that was here,” said Madrid. “And they’re taking away the beginning of Albuquerque.”
Skip Maisel declined to interview, but we’re told he’s closing down in August because he’s going into retirement.