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Olé for Somers’ Mexican Shack

SOMERS, N.Y. – If you grew up around Somers in the 1970s, you probably remember the old shack at Routes 35 and 100, appropriately called The Mexican Shack .

“Back in the 70s, I got myself a van and drove from Somers across country,” said Steven Delzio, owner of The Mexican Shack. “It was a ’70s thing to do. I ended up living in Phoenix.

“Then my parents’ 25th anniversary came up, and I wanted to go home for it. I was living hand-to-mouth, so I had to raise some money. I took out a loan, stocked the van with Mexican pottery and Native American jewelry and drove east.

“When I got here, I called a few friends and neighbors.” Suddenly the van was empty of its entire 300-piece stock. Dom D’Agostino of Mahopac’s Maple Grove Nursery offered to buy a whole truckload of pottery if Delzio could provide it.

Delzio was instantly in business for himself. He began by parking his van and displaying his goods along the road near King Kone. In 1975 he moved into the 600-square-foot shack on the corner and hung up a sign.

As business grew, the van was replaced by a Ryder truck, the truck by a 12-foot trailer, and eventually he hired box cars.

Delzio made frequent restocking trips to the Southwest, where Native Americans sold their products on the roadside, and to Mexico. After a while he was producing his own Mexican pottery, simultaneously bringing income and growth to a small village in Mexico.

Without realizing it, Delzio says, he had created a brand. “The Mexican Shack is such a special thing that it’s become a destination. People come from all over. People from France love this stuff.”

In 1987 Delzio bought some property two miles north on Route 100. “The original idea was to create a Mexican open-air market, but we decided to close it up,” he said.

The new building is 2,400 square feet and brimming with everything from trinkets to items for serious collectors of turquoise and artifacts.

“They tore down the shack the minute I moved out,” he says. If you park behind the new building, you will see the old sign on display.

“We considered changing the name, but it’s catchy. A lot of people think I’m a restaurant. In fact, when we were creating an ad, the ad man said, ‘You can play with that,’ so the ad said, ‘no waiters, no menus.’ ”

There is no Internet business, either. “I like the personal touch,” Delzio said. “I want people to experience The Mexican Shack, see it and feel it.”

The Mexican Shack, at 256 Route 100, Somers, is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. The Shack’s annual sale is coming up on April 27. Some items will be discounted by 75 percent.

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