Katie Wall did not plan on purchasing a business when she decided to visit a lifelong friend in Mancos.
Wall had more travels planned after a life transition in her home state of Minnesota prompted her to leave.
“I had planned to travel abroad, maybe get down to Mexico, possibly down to Argentina,” Wall said. “I had some stuff that was floating out there as possibilities, and then I came to Mancos, and I didn’t leave.”
Soon after Wall arrived in town, previous owner Dustin Partridge approached her about the sale of his natural food store.
Wall was the merchandising manager of a natural food co-op in Minnesota, and she has 11 years of farming background.
Her immediate reaction to Dustin was a resounding no. She was sure this was not her path. However, after spending more time in Mancos, becoming acquainted with the people in the area and getting involved in the “Rosa belongs here” campaign, her mind started to change.
“Dustin was going to close November 1st, regardless of whether he had a buyer or not and that was a huge motivator,” Wall said. “I kind of just felt like things kind of got clear for me around my former life, and I realized I probably wasn’t going back to Minnesota and it just seemed right. I had an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I really fell in love with the town of Mancos.”
Wall called Partridge the next morning and told him she would buy Zuma from him.
Wall took over Zuma Natural Foods on Nov. 1. “There will definitely be significant changes, but it will happen gradually over time,” Wall said. “We are planning to do a grand reopening sometime this winter.”
Changes at Zuma may include a “grab and go” system of food at the cafe and more locally sourced foods.
“With my background in farming, I definitely want to figure out how to support local food,” Wall said. “We have a great basis with Montezuma Farm to School, and there are some really great local, organic farmers in the area.”
Wall said that the Mancos community has shown her great support in her endeavor to fill Partridge’s shoes.
“Folks are really excited, and I have a lot of people that will just come in to meet me or to hang out in the space,” Wall said. “I have really felt supported, and I am really grateful not only to the community but to the staff who have been incredibly generous with their knowledge, experience and their time and energy.”