By Gary Collins
Pine Bluffs Post 

No more bright lights, big city


Gary Collins/Pine Bluffs Post

Russ Macklem, left, a trucker who had just delivered his load, makes a purchase from Liliana Anchondo, right, proprietress of the Albin Ranch Mini Market.

Trading life in the big city of Denver, Colo. for the quiet rural life of Albin, Wyo. the Anchondo family have come to appreciate the value in raising their children in the community they now call home.

They arrived in Albin seven years ago when the father, Rodrigo Anchondo was unable to find steady work in the Colorado capital. Liliana Anchondo, wife of Rodrigo, grew up in Denver, but life there had become difficult with only one pay check coming in.

"They told us that there was a job over here for my husband, so we decided to move over here because it was easier, the rents were lower and things like that," Anchondo said. "So that is why we decided to move to Albin."

Her husband works on one of the pig farms in the area as a breeder. He likes the pay and the fact that there are benefits and health insurance.

Mrs. Anchondo was uncomfortable at first in this small rural community.

"You know, first I didn't like it, because, obviously I was used to Colorado, big city and everything. But, I guess I just got used to it," Anchondo said."

The Anchondo's have two children, Leslie, 13, and Rodrigo, Jr., 7. They were both born in Colorado. Leslie was 6 when they moved to Albin while Rodrigo was a new born. Having spent almost all of his life in Albin, little Rodrigo feels no lure for the metropolis of Denver.

"My son, especially, he loves here. He doesn't like Colorado. He gets sick when we go, too much fevers and things like that. A couple of days and he goes, 'I'm ready to go back home,' " Anchondo said.

For 13-year-old Leslie, the case is different. Perhaps it is owing to her six years in Denver, or maybe she is just exhibiting the normal traits of a teenager.

"You know, my daughter's different. She's 13, so she wants to go out to the movies, the mall and things like that. My son is more comfortable here," Anchondo said.

Her seven years in Albin has changed Anchondo from a city girl to one who enjoys the tranquility life in the town of Albin. She cites how quiet the town becomes after 6:00 in the evenings.

"So now, when I go to Colorado, it's kind of like, 'Let's go back.' It's too much traffic, too much people, too much stress. Se we just go and want to come back right away," Anchondo said.

In October 2016, Anchondo took over operation of the Ranch Mini Market in Albin. She is renting the location from the family that used to run it. That family lives in Greeley Colo. and own two stores in that state. The family found that trying to run three stores, with the one in Albin so far from their home base, was too difficult to maintain. That's where Anchondo came in. It's been a bit of a rough start for Anchondo, but things are beginning to pick up and she is optimistic about the future.

"It's hard when you start the first year in all businesses, not only in here but in everything, it's hard that first year, but it's picking up. It's getting better. I opened it in the winter time, so it's kind of like more tougher to open in the winter than the summer," Anchondo said.

There is a kitchen at the back of the store and a couple of tables with chairs for dining. They do the food mostly on the weekends when her husband is off and her mother comes in to help.

"We do food every once and awhile, not always, because you actually need two people to do that. One in the front and one in the back, so we do that every once in a while," Anchondo said.

She stated that running the store gives her something to do with her days instead of hanging around the house all day while her children are in school.

"I'm not bored. I can find something to do every day," Anchondo said. "I get to meet all kinds of people.'

Sometimes her son would rather be in the store rather than in school.

"He enjoys coming to the store. Sometimes he goes, 'I want to go to the store instead of the school. The store is fun," Anchondo said. "He likes it here because he can get whatever he wants."

At first they started opening for seven days a week but that was really hard on the kids so they decided to close on Sundays.

"We don't want them to be in the store all the time. We want them to be out and do something for the kids," Anchondo said.

Little Rodrigo at the age of seven has not decided what he wants to do in life. More exactly, he has decided, but that decision depends upon when you ask.

"My son, we don't know what he wants to do yet. He's seven," Anchondo said. "He changes his mind every time. Every time we ask he goes, 'Oh, I want to be a fire fighter. Oh, I want to do this, oh, I want to be a dentist.' Every time he changes."

Her daughter enjoys her times helping out her mother in the store. She enjoys working at the register and stocking in the back. Unlike her brother, though, she has a firm grasp on where she wants her future to go. Leslie wants go college and study film making. She wants to be a producer and/or a director.

"She wants to be the one that makes a lot of money, she says," Anchondo said.

It seems, perhaps, that in the case of young Leslie, you can take the girl out of the city, but you cannot take the city out of the girl.


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