I began to realize the significance of Rio Grande in the jewelry world at an unexpected place. I was at an awards ceremony for court appointed special advocates for children in Tucson, Arizona. One of the advocates being honored happened to be a French professor of mine from way back. It was no surprise to see her there. She struck me as exactly the kind of person who would volunteer her time to benefit a child in need.
During the usual mingle and network period of these events Ms. Bouillard wandered over to me and asked where she knew me from.
“You gave me a ‘D’ in your French class about ten years ago” obviously I’m still bent about that, and in retrospect I regret being so unforgiving in that moment. I saw the discomfort I had caused, and I tried to back-pedal. I commended her for the service she was providing so selflessly.
She had no trouble skipping over my faux-pas. “So, what are you doing with yourself these days?”
“Well, I just moved to Albuquerque, got a new job that I’m really excited about.”
“Oh really, what is it that you’re doing?”
“I’ve never done it before, but I work in a warehouse for a jewelry manufacturing place.”
Her eyes got wider, and I wasn’t sure if she was showing genuine interest or what.
She said quietly, “Rio Grande?”
“Yeah, that’s it!”
“Wow, do you get any discounts!?”
Yep, true story. The conversation with Ms. Bouillard quickly turned back to the kids, but I often wonder how she knew about Rio. I could certainly imagine her as a jewelry enthusiast, but I can’t say for certain. At the time I wasn’t eligible to receive discounts since I had only been with the company something like 63 days. The required 90 days of employment wouldn’t lapse until after the holiday season, but this year will be a different story entirely! I’ve got a few things in mind for the upcoming holiday season, but I’d like to hear from some of my fellow Rio readers out there, what was the first thing you bought at Rio?