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Wilton Manors, Florida
May 7, 2001
Now comes the fun part! Remember, this not only WAS a trading post, it still IS a trading post. Except for the wooden floors, exposed beams, and tack hanging from the ceiling, much of the merchandise looks like what you'd find in your local convenience store: chips, soda, batteries, etc.. You can also purchase feed, tack and other supplies for daily living. This area, called the Bull Pen, has changed very little over the past 100 years.
Off to the right are the jewelry room and the rug room. Hubbell's influence on craftsmanship can't be overstated. He bought only the best, and was willing to pay for it. As a result, those who wanted to sell here had to be top notch. Everyone knew that this was the place to come to buy or sell the very best, and again, things haven't changed much.
True to its past, nobody is very rushed here. If you want help, you have to ask for it, otherwise you are assumed to be browsing. Prices are negotiable, especially in the off-season, so don't be afraid to ask.
Bill's been a trader for a long time, and he knows Native art better than just about anyone. If it isn't too busy, he'll show you what makes a rug good and what makes one garbage. He's got a special discount for those who truly care about the objects, so if he points at you and says something in Navajo to his sales clerk, don't be offended. You've probably just earned a bigger discount!
It's easy to get lost here: lost in history, lost in beauty, lost in the intricate details of a finely carved kachina. Take your time. Don't rush. You're following in the dusty footprints of 125 years of other traders who shopped in exactly the same way.
From journal Gems of Northern Arizona
November 17, 2000
From journal Navajo Nation