On October 10, David Vasquez will retire from Mountain Hardware after working there for 24 years.
Dave, as he is known to customers and friends, has lived in the High Desert since 1983 and raised three children here. After working a few years in construction, he remembers applying for the job after seeing it in the newspaper. “I came in for an interview, and I’ve been here ever since.” What has made the job great has been having an incredible boss and co-workers who have become part of his extended family.
His favorite part of being able to work in Wrightwood has been getting to know the people. “I’ve enjoyed the whole time I’ve been here,” he says. The people are nice, and everyone helps each other. When he has gone out to eat or to have a drink in town, he remembers always running into folks he’s met while working at the store. To him, that has been very special. Throughout the years, he has also seen a lot of change come to town. “I got to see a lot of kids as babies grow up over the time that I’ve been here. So that’s been pretty cool. I’ve seen them go from kids to adults.”
One of his fondest memories from work will be the winter rush of tourists. When you see over 700 customers come in here on their way to have fun, “that’s been one of my exciting times,” he explains fondly. But after all this time, his favorite seasons in the mountains will always be spring and summer. As an avid camper, the area has been ideal. Plus, there is just so much to do outdoors. “Some of the best hiking trails are up here,” he points out.
Now that he is retiring and that he and his wife have sold their homes, they will move to Waco, Texas. For him, it will be a homecoming. “I’m originally from Texas,” he says. “We love it over there.”
Dave’s co-workers could not be happier for him as he moves on to this next chapter of his life. “I want to wish him all the best,” says Teri Munday, a co-worker of 24 years. “I’m thrilled for him that he’s getting to do this. It’s been a dream of his for many years.”
Melissa Davis has worked with Dave for ten years. What she’ll remember about him is how they both acted like brother and sister at work. “He’s like that with a lot of us. So, we’ll bicker back and forth. But it’s fun.” As a co-worker, she describes him as very knowledgeable. On occasions when she was not busy, and Dave was helping a customer, she says she would follow him around the store just to learn from him. But her favorite memory of Dave will be a business trip they took to Minneapolis for a Do It Best show. “We had so much fun just kind of roaming the streets all of us co-workers. It was really fun with Dave cause he always makes things fun.”
Chris Kasten has worked with Dave for eight years and has known him for over twenty. His message to Dave in retirement is to “try to take some time to enjoy those big lakes out there.”
For Dave, what he will miss most about leaving California are his co-workers. “You don’t realize how many friends you got until you’re leaving.” “That’s the only thing I feel sad about but good at the same time.”