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Store owners plan expansion to Otero County

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Lisa Dunlap Photo Steven and Tanna Johnson have chosen a site in Cloudcroft for a second location for their store, Rustic Essentials. Their current store is on North Main Street.

A family-owned business that started in Roswell about two and a half years ago will open a second location in downtown Cloudcroft.

Tanna Johnson, the co-owner of Rustic Essentials Soap Co. LLC along with her husband, Steven Johnson, said that they always wanted multiple locations and came across a perfect site recently while on vacation in the mountains.

“The new address is going to be 111 Burro Ave., which is funny because our very first shop was 111 W. Walnut (in Roswell),” she said. “So we kind of took that as a sign.”

The local store moved to 125 N. Main St. in September 2019, but the business started in the family home in 2017.

The Johnsons make varieties of homemade soaps and body care items using natural ingredients, and Rustic Essentials of Cloudcroft will offer the same type of products, with probably fewer UFO- or extraterrestrial-related items carried for the Roswell visitor and consumer. During the coronavirus pandemic, the family also has made face coverings and hand sanitizer.

A Roswell native, Tanna Johnson said that her family always has enjoyed spending time in the mountains and that they will be able to move quickly to open the second store, due to both the site they found and the success of their Roswell store. At least in the beginning, the two owners will take turns operating the Cloudcroft store, which is about an hour and 40 minutes from Roswell. She said they plan to keep their home in Roswell.

“We had our eye on a couple of different spots in a couple of different towns,” Tanna Johnson said. “But this particular spot had every single thing that we wanted and needed, down to the minor details. It is amazing. So we are going with our gut feeling and taking a step forward.”

She said Cloudcroft has an active downtown and was “packed” during their recent trip there. According to Johnson, it attracts the ski travelers from Texas, visitors from the military base in Alamogordo and tourists who attend the craft shows there.

Located in Otero County and the Lincoln National Forest, the village was started in 1898 and has a population of about 768 people, according to the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce website.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.