Coming together

Shonto opens new store after years of work by tribal officials

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
The $4.9 million Shonto Marketplace opened for business April 27 in Shonto, Arizona. The convenience store/laundromat officially opened May 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

SHONTO, Ariz.

The long-awaited Shonto Marketplace opened for business April 27 as the Shonto Community Governance began a soft launch period, said Robert Black Jr.

The Shonto Marketplace, located at the junction of U.S. Route 160 and State Route 98, officially opened Tuesday, May 2, with a grand opening at 9 a.m.

“We want to open … with a ribbon-cutting ceremony,” said Black, manager at SCG. “Afterwards, we’ll have the rest of the agenda.”

Shortly after the ribbon-cutting, dignitaries invited by SCG, including President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez, will be taken on a tour of the convenience store and laundromat built on 4.2 acres of a 10-acre site that local leaders had fenced off through grant money in 2006.

The agenda includes speeches by Douglas Adams, marketplace operator; Seth Damon, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee; and Felix Fuller, president at SCG, among others.

“It’s actually coming together!” exclaimed Elizabeth Whitethorne-Benally, vice president at SCG. “Is this real?”

The dream of a convenience store began more than a decade ago when the current officials were first elected into office and Nez was a Council delegate for Naatsis’áán and Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah, Shonto and Ts’ahbiikin – what locals call the NOST (Náás in Diné bizaad) region.

“When we came into office, we asked each other what we are going to do,” Whitethorne-Benally said. “We said we would continue projects, and we started brainstorming. Now, it’s coming together.”

But officials say it was not an easy feat to bring a convenience store to Shonto where there is a 100-year-old trading post in the canyon.


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Categories: Business

About Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen is the Western Agency Bureau reporter for the Navajo Times. She covers the western half of the Navajo Nation, including Page, Tuba City, Kaibeto, Cameron, Tonalea and Shonto. She can be reached at kallen@navajotimes.com.