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Sandbar Trading to open a sister store in Santa Fe

WICHITA — The tough economic climate has actually proven to be a benefit for Sandbar Trading owners Richard and Julie Gottsponer.

"We have been trying for years to figure out a way to do a gallery in Santa Fe just for the high season," Richard Gottsponer says.

Space has always been too expensive to lease, but with other galleries and shops folding, there was an opening.

"All the stars just got aligned, and we were able to get us a great location on Canyon Road," Gottsponer says. "Canyon Road is kind of like Rodeo Drive in California or Fifth Avenue in New York.

"It's almost the art capital of the world anymore. Seriously."

Sandbar Trading, which is at 922 E. Douglas, carries handmade Native American items like Navaho rugs, silver and turquoise jewelry and pottery. The store also has paintings, art and Southwest-style rugs and rustic furniture.

The seeds of the Gottsponers' business go back 35 years, and they've had a full-time wholesale business for 15 years. They opened a retail business in Old Town eight years ago.

The Gottsponers feel like the Santa Fe shop will bring their retail business more legitimacy. Richard Gottsponer says they're asked all the time, "What's a Southwest store doing in Wichita?"

Their Santa Fe shop will be open July 3 through September 13.

"This is an opportunity that we were just given," Richard Gottsponer says. "It ties into our business very well."

While the Wichita store carries items in all prices ranges, he says the Santa Fe shop will focus more on mid- to high-end items.

"Hopefully, this will be the second of many expansion projects in the future."