GET IN MY CAR!
By Katie Nartonis
Goat Mountain Dry Goods Co. is a delightful gift shop and small gallery space in Yucca Valley that just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Husband and wife team, Erin Campbell and Joe Alvarez, named their shop after their beloved Goat Mountain neighborhood where they live and raise their family. The couple creates original art and handmade objects, as well as offering a fun collection of curated gifts. Their ultimate goal is to build a creative hub, with classes and resources for artists and craftspeople.
Joe is an accomplished artist and Erin has a cottage industry handsewing custom costumes, clothing, bags, and other small items. The Goat Mountain Co. is their shared project, where they provide art and distinctive gifts to locals and visitors alike. Their shop is filled with quirky, authentic, and colorful objects that make people smile.
The couple settled in the high desert four years ago and started the shop in the midst of the pandemic. “We are so blessed to have our business make it through our first year,” Erin notes. The couple hopes that the next year will bring more visitors and artists to the area and they “hope to bring more great themed art shows and give back as much as possible to our new high desert home.”
One wall in the shop is a dedicated art gallery space they refer to as the “TEENY WEENY WALL.” The current show, “Camporee Desperados”, features the work of artists Diammo Bennett, Ted Myers, Kallie Arte, Juan Thorpe, Julianno Elliiot, Steffie Sutton, Carlota Atlee, Rik V. Livingston, Theresa Watson, Abe A. Alvarez, Sara Reeves, as well as owner Joe Alvarez.
Asked what their favorite thing is about living in the desert, the couple notes the community.
“For sure the people! We came up here because of the open space, but we have been so blown away by all the incredible people that we have met. We love that there is such a thriving community of creatives that love and support each other here. And did we mention the big blue sky!?”
“We love that the pace up here is slower and that makes it a great place to raise a family. With so much space and beauty surrounding us, you can’t ask for anything else,” said Erin.
Erin and Joe have been a couple for 22 years. The story of how they met is as cinematic as a scene from a 1980s teenage romantic comedy film. After a late night of bar hopping in Whittier, Erin spotted Joe at the local Jack in the Box. Acting on impulse, Erin rolled down her window and demanded that Joe “get into my car!” They admit that they both fell for the other in that moment and have spent every day together since. Their shared love of creativity has sustained what has become a long and supportive relationship. “We both love to be busy with creative endeavors, so we really enjoy that about each other.”
Their shared vision for the high desert creative community includes a plan to create space for others to learn and explore. “Our goal is to showcase and nurture local artists. We hope to expand in the future and create a space where artists can come to learn new techniques and skills. We envision a larger space where we can host workshops and have equipment available for the community to use. We would love to teach sewing and other types of creative skills, as well as how to market and sell their art and creations.”
Erin and Joe are thinking bigger than themselves, and hoping to give back in a big way, which makes them a treasured and vital part of the creative spirit of our desert community. Don’t miss a chance to stop by and say howdy!
Goat Mountain Dry Goods
“Where the Happy Campers Go”
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12 to 5 pm
55940 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy, Suite #7 in Yucca Valley
Katie Nartonis is an art and design specialist, writer, curator, and filmmaker who lives in Yucca Valley. Her passion is telling the stories of artists and their work and is inspired by the creatives who live here in the high desert. She is also the Gallery Director of JTAG Gallery in Joshua Tree. www.thenartonisproject.com
Photos by Andrew Barber