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‘Turn-about shop’ opens in Socorro

Sheri Armijo has been collecting unique and vintage items all her life. Her recently opened shop, Little Sheri’s Playhouse, is at 225 Fisher Ave. in Socorro. (John Larson/El Defensor Chieftain)

SOCORRO – The historic Jesus Maria Torres House at 225 Fisher Ave. dates back to 1912, and Sheri Armijo wants to share its legacy with the community by filling it with vintage items.

“It’s a resale shop, in between thrift store and antique store,” said Armijo, the proprietor of Little Sheri’s Playhouse, which opened recently. “What my mother would call a ‘turn-about’ shop.”

Armijo said it has been her life-long dream to open a shop like this.

“I’m what people might call a ‘picker,'” she said. “I got it from my grandpa while I was growing up in Las Cruces. He was such a picker in those days. He would say, ‘dompe!’ and we would go to the town dump and pick. It was very common to find useful things and little treasures.”

The items she sells reflect Armijo’s skill at knowing what is either collectible or just unique in one way or another.

“I think it’s an art, being able to separate trash from treasure,” she said.

The balance of her inventory dates back to the 1950s, although. “some of the carnival ware might go back to the thirties,” Armijo said.

“There’ve been times when a family would inherit a house as is, and the family didn’t want to deal with all the stuff in there. They’d call me and say, ‘Sheri, you like old things, come and help us,'” Armijo said.

A look around the living room of the Torres house reflects a bit of cultural history.

Roller skates, porcelain plates and collectibles, some out-of-print books, metal toy trucks and cars, a wealth of glassware, even a treadle sewing machine and a fencing sword.

Most of the items were found either locally or elsewhere in New Mexico.

An educator by profession, Armijo taught for 27 years in Albuquerque and in Socorro, teaching Spanish and New Mexico culture.

She and her husband acquired the Jesus Maria Torres House four years ago.

“I always wanted to offer it to the community. We thought it would be nice for people to see the inside of the house, and having a little shop would be a good way to accomplish that,” she said. The basic structure is a traditional square adobe style with a hipped roof of corrugated metal.

The windows, doors, and all the wood trim were purchased as a mail-order kit through Crabtree Lumber Co.

“It was very well made,” Armijo said. “It’s been on the walking tour of Socorro for a long time.”

The turned columns on the front porch, which are unlike any others in Socorro, are the historical highlight for this house.

“It’s a little jewel that really belongs to the community of Socorro,” Armijo said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The shop is closed Sunday and Monday.