Western Village is a vision -- part of plans for the future to look back on the past.
"Our theme is ‘A Step Back in Time,' so all of the shops will have something giving glimpses of the past," owner Sue Malinski said.
Malinski is no stranger to the Rim country. For years she made a home in Flowing Springs and later on Bonita Street in Payson, raising her sons, Andy, Ken and Randy.
Her work as an artist and entrepreneur took her other places, but now she has returned to Payson and is making plans for a long stay. Not only is she developing Western Village, at 1104 South Beeline next to Motel 6, but she also is building a home in Flowing Springs. One of her three sons still lives in Payson, and when his work as a contractor doesn't have him at a dead run, he helps oversee things at Western Village.
Adding to the family atmosphere, Malinski's 93-year-old mother, Cecilia Storer, is running the House of Amethyst Rock Shop. Storer and her husband, the late Al Storer, bought the famous Four Peaks Amethyst Mine from the man who discovered it. The couple owned and operated the mine for many years and some of the stones in the House of Amethyst come from the mine. There also is amethyst from Brazil and many other stones available for sale, plus some from Storer's private collection. Her collection pieces are a tiny fraction of what Storer has acquired over the years.
"She has 75 years of collecting and two warehouses filled," Malinski said. Storer operated the Rock Hobby Shop in the Phoenix area for many years, starting in the 1950s.
In addition to her mother's rock shop, the existing Western Village space is occupied by Cowboy Carpets, owned by Rall Sturdivant; Tree Crafters, owned by Mike Chabot, specializing in tree removal, trimming and utility line trimming; and Malinski's own Art & Antique Corral, which features fine art, antiques and collectibles. She also carries the work of local artists and authors.
"I've designed this place to be self-sufficient," Malinski said.
Instead of stocking her shop with visits to auctions, estate and yard sales, she has leased the space to others.
"I have a computer program designed so I can run the business and I have outstanding help and tenants," she said.
Her plans for the future of the business include buildings that will be reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century blacksmith shop, general store, a two-story saloon and a trading post. The building will have the facades of these enterprises, but occupied by complementary businesses.
Malinski said she would like to see a metal artist in the blacksmith shop; perhaps a gift shop in the general store building; and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in the saloon.
"It will look like the late 1800s and early 1900s," Malinski said. "It will be a step back in time. I want this to be a destination for people to go through and enjoy."
Western Village is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Call 472-4677 for more information.