Ciudad Juarez gets cultural

Fernanda Leon, Staff Reporter

Objects of different materials, colors and sizes are what the recently opened Julia & Ernestina in Ciudad Juarez offers.

The store carries diverse articles that come mostly from different Mexican companies and designers.

“Julia & Ernestina is a new concept here in Ciudad Juarez,” said Monica Renee Morales Gallo, owner of the store. “It offers you a different way to see things because we collect antiques.”

For Morales, the store represents a huge achievement since it took many years for her to open the doors. She believes that being in the border could result in a disadvantage.

“Everyone runs to El Paso to buy things leaving Ciudad Juarez at a disadvantage,” Morales said.

Morales said in order for Ciudad Juarez to resurge, money has to be circulating in the city and not outside.

The store is named after the owner’s grandmothers. According to Morales, her husband’s family had the habit of naming their businesses after the women in the family.

What Julia & Ernestina offers are products made by different Mexican artisans, designers and companies that fill the store with unique products.

All of the products come from different parts of Mexico.

“We have two providers from the United States that provide us with replicas from antiques because we don’t sell our antiques,” Morales said. “There are big companies from the U.S. that send us vintage things or replicas that we sell.”

Among the things that the store offers are many collectible items from Coca-Cola and the Mexican Lottery.

“I have met collectors, a lot of collectors, for example, of the Mexican Lottery. The calacas is something that people come and search for all the time, it’s something that I love and that I have,” Morales said. “I also have a client who is a collector of Coca-Cola items.”

Morales’s family has a workshop where they fabricate furniture and fixtures that they sell at Julia & Ernestina.

“I think the store is fabulous because it is one of a kind,” Morales said.

“There’s nothing similar in the city and it has accessible prices and things that you don’t find anywhere else if you want to know a little bit about Mexican traditions,” said Karla Fonseca, a recent customer.

Morales likes to shop locally and is interested in young people that just finished their degree or are still in college.

“I really like industrial designers, graphic designers, and interior designers,” Morales said. “What are they doing and what proposals do they have? They come and look for me and offer me what they are doing,” Morales said.

From notebooks, wood bracelets and boxes painted by hand, Morales said people reach out to her to show and sell their products at Julia & Ernestina.

“They like my store to show their things and people come to me,” Morales said. “This has helped me a lot to have different things that you won’t find anywhere else.”

For Morales, the business world is still ruled by men and this has represented different challenges for her in many factors. Things like her gender and age have made it difficult for her to stand out as a businesswoman and interior designer.

“To tell you the truth what impulses me a lot is my family,” Morales said. “They always say ‘you can do it, you can do it’.”

Fernanda Leon can be reached at [email protected]