Stories

“RIGHT WRONG TURN” BY DESERT LEAF MAGAZINE

Desert Leaf magazine featured Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block

Desert Leaf magazine featured Kerstin Block in “We Often Have More Abilities Than We Realize” in its December 2014 issue: “Forty-five years ago … we bought a house on five acres near Kinney and Ajo roads … the far west side, outside Tucson. … Eventually other no-so-savory elements moved into the area … a bar that became a front for the less-than-legal activities. … so it was shut down, and the owners had to sell the property, which was diagonally across from ours. Spencer, who was the consummate entrepreneur, said to me, ‘Let’s buy the property so we can decide what to do with it.’… In 2001, we bought the property, against my wishes, and started renovating its buildings: a restaurant, a group of little shops, and a large building in the back of the property that had been the motorcycle bar. … Shortly after we bought the second parcel, Spencer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On the commercial property, we renovated everything except the restaurant–Coyote Pause Café–and before long, people had moved into the shops and started running businesses. I even put in a big consignment store. Spencer wanted us to build a B&B on the back property. I gave in and said okay, and we began that project, too. Spencer was functional for quite a long time, but it was harder for him as the cancer progressed. … The project kept him going. But in 2009, Spencer died. So, here I was with this property teeming with activity and all kinds of development but not making much money. I had to get it organized and deal with it, which became a good thing for me. … When we bought the west-side property, I thought it was a mistake. The first lesson I learned from this project is that I have more abilities than I thought. … On this project, I learned how to delegate better and work through others to get things done. I’ve been lucky in pretty much everything I’ve done, and Cat Mountain Station turned out how I wanted. … to be something really nice for the neighborhood, and people are glad we turned it around. The second lesson I learned from this project is that you should get involved with things you really want to do, not have to do, but if you’re thrust into a have to situation, figure out a way to deal with it.”

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