NEW SHOWROOM NOW OPEN IN HISTORIC NOB HILL - ALBUQUERQUE, NM
The story of West of Santa Fe is one that began 40 years ago, in 1973. This is the year that Al Vendegna, the visionary force and creator of West of Santa Fe, founded and incorporated a company called Golden Eagle Trading Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Al's vision for Golden Eagle was one that was sparked by the purchase of a turquoise bracelet in Gallup, NM in the early 1970's. This bracelet, coupled with his deep love and appreciation for the 'Old West' ignited a passion in him to create the GREATEST Cowboy and Native American Indian store in the world.
After 19 years of hard work and success with a design, manufacturing and wholesale entity, a retail location in Albuquerque (Golden Eagle) and another in the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, NV (West of Dallas), Al's dream came to fruition when he opened the world's greatest Cowboys & Native American Indian store. It was filled with only the highest quality, most unique and certified authentic pieces of memorabilia from many Native American tribes and Cowboy artifacts from the Old West. Not only could you find a huge selection of traditional and contemporary Native American jewelry and art, but you could also admire Sterling Silver Bohlin parade saddles, collectible Colt and Winchester firearms, beaded moccasins, exquisite paintings, Apache baskets, antique spurs and Roy Rogers memorabilia. His masterpieces is called 'West of Santa Fe' and its home was in The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. For nearly 20 years, West of Santa Fe flourished at the Forum Shops and Al continuously gained both credibility and respect in his field. He hosted tens of thousands of customers over the years, including celebrities like Randy Travis, Bill Clinton, Mary J. Blige's stylist, Joan Rivers and even Michael Jackson. Pieces from the West of Santa Fe collection are of museum quality and have been featured at the Quarter Horse Museum, the Native American Indian Museum and the Roy Rogers Museum.
In May of 2010, after nearly 20 successful year standing amongst other jewelers such as David Yurman, Bvlgari and Tiffany & Co., the Forum Shops and West of Santa Fe parted ways and West of Santa Fe closed its brick and mortar doors, staying open only online for our valued and loyal customers. It was a difficult decision to make, and the decision was made with a heavy heart. Al was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun, saying, "The mall is continuously merchandising, and they are very good at what they do. They decided they would rather have a certain type of store in this location. They want someone with a big designer name. I am just a single owner with one store." "...I understand what they are doing but I am very disappointed (I am closing)", Vendegna said. " I created the most unique store on the Las Vegas Strip. It feels like my home. I don't blame the Forum Shops, I did have 18 great years at that location." At that time, Al promised that West of Santa Fe would find a new home, either in Vegas or back at home in Albuquerque.
In October of 2011, before being able to fulfill his promise to re-open the popular and unique work of art he called West of Santa Fe, Al lost his battle with cancer. He spent a lifetime working to preserve, revive and disseminate the traditions and beauty of the Native American culture and the spirit of the Old West.
On March 12th, 2013, Al's wife, children and the rest of the West of Santa Fe family announced that we will honor Al's wishes, and we will ride again. West of Santa Fe is coming home to it's birthplace at Golden Eagle in the historic Nob Hill community of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our brick and mortar doors are open again, as promised! While this is a new chapter with an Albuquerque twist, you can still see the same exquisite , unique and extravagant collections we proudly showcased in Las Vegas. We've been in this building on historic Route 66 since 1976 (serving as our corporate offices) and it really does feel like we have come home.
Located in historic Nob Hill, on Route 66
3601 Central Avenue, Northeast (NE corner of Carlisle & Central Ave.)
Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm
We want to thank each and every person who has supported West of Santa Fe and helped us to find success all of these years. Our wish is that Al's legacy and his vision to impart the beauty of the Old West will continue to shine for many years to come.