Leslie McNamer-Vasquez fulfilled a lifetime goal when she opened andquot;Leslie's Collectiblesandquot; at 415 Highway 101 S., Suite 4, on Jan. 25.

andquot;I've wanted to do it for years and years, but I never had the opportunity,andquot; she said.

The new shop is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Hwy 101 and Elk Valley Road. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

andquot;I have a lot of everything - glassware, vintage barware, new and used jewelry, purses, knickknacks and used furniture,andquot; McNamer-Vasquez said. andquot;For the younger generation, I carry body jewelry, including nose studs and eyebrow and belly rings.andquot;

The shop includes several rooms full of reasonably priced original artwork, furniture, and a variety of vintage items. Books on cooking, crafts, health, hobbies and children's topics can also be found there.

andquot;I go out of town to estate and garage sales,andquot; McNamer-Vasquez said. andquot;I try to purchase out of town so I'm not competing with my customers.andquot;

In her third year as a county supervisor, McNamer-Vasquez is also a newlywed, having married Lupe Vasquez a year ago.

andquot;My husband has helped me quite a bit with the shop,andquot; she said.

?Let It Grow expands to CC: Tom Gronek opened a Crescent City branch of his Arcata horticultural supply store, called Let It Grow, at 1228 2nd St. on Jan. 15.

andquot;The reason we opened it up here was a flood of people from Crescent City going down there and basically begging us to open one up here,andquot; Gronek said. andquot;The community's been awesome. They've welcomed me with open arms.andquot;

The store's focus is on organic and locally produced items.

andquot;We sell horticultural supplies for both soil and hydroponic gardening,andquot; general manager Claudia Frances said. andquot;We have soil, pots, nutrients, pest and disease control products and greenhouse materials. Approximately 85 percent of our products are all organic.andquot;

Gronek has about 20 years experience in the field, Frances said, and started Let It Grow out of his garage. He opened the Arcata store three years ago.

Frances herself has been trained as a master gardener.

Let It Grow will hold a grand opening celebration on Feb. 24 with free samples and a grand prize drawing.

?Mexican grocery store opens: The long awaited opening of Las Tapatias Market at 721 Darby St. took place at noon on Saturday, featuring refreshments and prize drawings.

Owners Oliver and Maria De Leon bought the former Darby Grocery property in November 2000. A fulltime construction worker, Oliver remodeled the store in his spare time. He installed new siding and a new roof. The large convenience store carries primarily products distributed by El Mexicano, a Mexican based firm with a distributor in Sacramento.

A large variety of chiles, Mexican pasta, Jumex nectars and piatas can be found there, along with special Mexican tools such as a lime squeezer and dishwashing brush. Mexican cheeses, yogurt treats and smoothies, cookies, salsa and candy also fill the shelves.

What does the name andquot;Las Tapatiasandquot; mean?

andquot;Ladies born in the Jalisco state in Mexico are called 'las Tapatias,'andquot; Oliver said.

andquot;My wife, and two of my daughters, Alicia and Sandra, were born there. Our third daughter, Jacky, was born in America.andquot;

Reach Christine Walters, The Daily Triplicate's business columnist, at