|“I know that people get annoyed with the pace, but I love the pace,” says Maria MacNamee with a chuckle. “I love the fact that you don’t have to rush around like the crazy people do in the city.”
Maria realizes the slower pace of Pagosa Springs, known by the locals as “Pagosa time,” isn’t for everyone. But, when she and her husband wanted to get away from their high-stress California life, it was right for them.
Her husband, a retired Marine and business owner, was looking to return to a small-town environment and they were both looking for a better quality of life, she says. So, 17 years ago, Maria left her “very stressful” life as a computer analyst with the Marine Corps and, with her husband, moved to Pagosa Springs, a place they’d visited only once before buying a home.
She admits her husband fell in love with the town at first visit, but her affinity took longer to form. “It only took me about a year and I just fell in love with Pagosa Springs. I think it’s a great town,” she says. “The people are so wonderful.”
Despite her love taking longer to form, the MacNamees came with a plan to enjoy the slower pace.
“We came from a hectic lifestyle, so we thought we would semi-retire,” Maria says, but after moving to Pagosa Country, she and her husband decided they were too young and looked into business opportunities. In looking for opportunities, Maria spoke with the owner of a downtown clothing store, and, when the owner retired, Maria bought the shop, Happy Trails, 16 years ago.
Although a far cry from her days as a computer analyst, Maria’s clothing store puts her in contact with the people that made her love the area. With about 60 percent of her customers local and part-time residents, Maria enjoys forming friendships with them, providing them with compliment-grabbing outfits and personalized service that can’t be beat.
“We go out of our way to provide different items, unique items. You won’t find someone else with the same jacket,” Maria says, noting that the shopping experience is similar throughout Pagosa Springs — the service is personal and the finds are unique.
With a job dealing with making people happy, a home in the area she and her husband love, and a long list of indoor and outdoor hobbies, does Maria feel she found that quality of life she and her husband were looking for?
It’s high on the list of things she boasts about the area, right along with the mountains (her husband climbed his first fourteener last summer at age 61) and the seasons. “We truly have quality of life here,” she says.