Q: How did your involvement in Tlaquepaque happen?
A: In 1998, I was in Manhattan, New York City, and I was working with Tommy Hilfiger as National Sales Manager, traveling back and forth across the country. My father had stumbled across Sedona at that same time and fell in love with it. I had no idea what he was talking about or where this place was, to be quite honest. He acquired Tlaquepaque in June of 1998. He was living in Los Angeles, California, and I was in New York City. I was ready for a change. I was tired of the traveling, the insanity, the craziness, and the hustle and bustle of everything. He said that he could use some help with this new project – which I couldn’t pronounce, of course! I thought he was entirely out of his mind, but he insisted. He said, ” Why don’t you come out here, and we will agree on a deal that will work for you. Come out for a weekend and see if you like it, and we’ll talk.” That following week, I flew out (it was Easter weekend). I brought a girlfriend of mine from New York, and even though it was raining and freezing and very hard to see the Red Rocks, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity. I made a three-year commitment to my father. That three-year commitment turned out to be a 24-year commitment.
Q: What is it that you love about Sedona?
A: The quality of life is amazing. We are blessed to live in such an incredibly gorgeous environment. The skies are clear – there’s no smog. I feel younger and more vibrant here. I come from such a metropolitan lifestyle, so it has been refreshing. I’ve had the opportunity to re-prioritize the things that I value. I hike, run regularly, and I enjoy being outdoors. And it’s all outside my backdoor. I feel more grounded, calmer, and just a better person.
Q: What is it that makes Tlaquepaque unique and exciting?
A: I think that the dream – the story from Abe Miller – is beautiful. He wanted this incredible community place where people would come and hang out or live. The way he constructed Tlaquepaque, no one has been able to duplicate (although many have tried). I think it’s because of the spirit and the feelings that went to it. He didn’t want it to be perfect. The walls are a bit uneven, and there are a few flaws. That is what makes Tlaquepaque so memorable. It is a village. We have an incredible chapel, beautiful weddings, and events. I believe these things bring the community together, which I love.
Q: How does Tlaquepaque fit into the community?
A: We tried to open this up for everyone. I felt that since day one when I moved here. It was always our goal to open this up and embrace our communities, whether you’re doing a fun race or theater. I invite the community to come here and generally for free, whether it’s for a moment or an afternoon.
Q: When friends or family from out of town come to visit, where do you take them?
A: I would take them out to the Red Rocks. It’s literally my backyard. Sterling Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon are my favorites. I would make sure they get a view of Sedona, and I would take them up to the Airport Mesa. There are so many things because if you want some adventure you can do a Pink Jeep tour, some people like to do the ATV thing. I’ve floated down the Verde River and loved it! It was such a fantastic experience, and I ended up doing some wine tasting.
Q: Who are the most interesting people you’ve met here in Sedona?
A: I’m not suitable for this part because I am relatively reclusive. Anyway, Patrick Schweiss is an amazing human being larger than life in our community. I would have no trouble sharing Patrick with someone. A handful of restauranteurs are a joy to be with, especially Belynda Greene (from the Pump House Station Urban Eatery & Market). She is always incredibly wonderful, amazing, so warm, and always welcoming. And everyone who comes to town gets to meet Liz Moler. Another person that is so inspiring is Betsy Klein, Plan B to save the wolves. I love being with her. We share the outdoors and love of dogs. There are so many others that immediately come to mind, I would necessarily not be selective, but those are the people that immediately popped into my mind.
Q: If you could choose anyone with whom would you love to have lunch?
A: Frida Kahlo would be one; I am just so fascinated with her. And then who wouldn’t love to have a meal with Marilyn Monroe?
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: I have so many places that I want to go right now. Well, I’ve been dying to go to Morocco, so I guess that would be my number one choice. Iceland number two. Go back to Europe number three. I haven’t been to Spain, so I need to get there.
Q: What do you foresee for yourself in the future?
A: Obviously, I’ll still be at Tlaquepaque for a while. That’s an excellent question that I’ve been pondering. I let go of some businesses ( I had a toy store), and my world has opened up again. I am trying to focus on living in the moment and enjoy all of this now.
Q: How do you want people to remember you?
A: Kind, giving, and a person who lives with integrity.