6.28.2010

Mexican import shop open

El Jardine, an open-air tent shop selling imported Mexican goods has sprung up on Church Street between Carpetland and Saratoga Signature Interiors.

It’s run by Syracuse-based businessman Peter Flaherty, who has teamed up with Saratoga Signature Interiors owner (and his fiancée) Nancy Smith to use the 22-by-48- foot lot next to her store at 82 Church St. as a seasonal base to sell his unique, handcrafted wares.

Flaherty travels to Guadalajara, in western Mexico, to shop for his goods, then imports them to the United States to sell throughout the Northeast. El Jardine, the tent shop, is an extension of his two stores in Syracuse. He originally sold imported goods through a catalog business, but opened the first store in 2006 because of an excess of oddball items that had arrived in his delivery truck.

“The Mexicans are very honest and hardworking,” Flaherty said. “But if you order, say, 50 clay pigs, you might get 100 or you might get 20. I would open my delivery truck and find whatever the Mexican families and artists had made by the time the truck had to leave.

“I have a lot of unique items that I believe will fit into the horse (theme) and festive heart of what Saratoga is,” he added.

There are hand-thrown pots, fireplaces, water fountain walls, hand-carved wall hangings, garden planters and decorative art pieces for lawns and patios.

The highest-quality pieces fetch as much as $1,400.

Most of the items are handmade by Mexican artisans whose families have passed the craft down through generations, Flaherty said.

Many are created using reconstituted scrap metal and wood, rocks, clay or a combination of those materials.

“I enjoy the Mexican art because it’s fun, it’s different and it’s a fun business to be in,” said Flaherty, who has been importing goods for 11 years.

His interest in the culture and the artwork began while visiting his mother, who lived on the Mexican coast.

The more relaxed pace of the Mexican business world also fits his style, said Flaherty, who calls himself a semi-retired businessman.

“As fast-paced and direct as our society and our business is, in Mexico, “mañana” as tomorrow doesn’t necessarily even mean tomorrow,” he said.

El Jardine also sells decorative tents like the one Flaherty has set up shop under.

The colorful tents are imported from India and can cost anywhere from $4,500 to $10,000.

El Jardine will be open through the summer and fall. For more information, call Saratoga Signature Interiors at 581-0023.


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