From left, Marcelo Ruano, Cheryl Sowder and Julio Gaytan at work at the Finishing Touch. After more than 38 years operating the Finishing Touch, Sowder is turning ownership over to Ruano and Gaytan. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Julio Gaytan and Marcelo Ruano are officially the new owners of Finishing Touch; they took over the business Wednesday from Cheryl Sowder who operated the flooring and window covering business for more than 38 years.
The community is invited to meet the new owners at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at the store at 174 Central Park Square. There will be music, bouncy houses for children and $3,000 worth of prizes from vendors. The Sean Heaven Band will perform live and the public will get a sneak peek at the showroom and products now available.
A recommendation from another local business owner, Andy Fox of CB FOX, led Gaytan and Ruano to purchase the Finishing Touch, Gaytan said. He explained that in February he was doing some work at the department store when Fox mentioned Sowder was looking for someone to purchase her business.
Sowder wanted someone to take the Finishing Touch into the future and continue to provide the best kind of customer service possible, Fox told him.
Gaytan and Ruano are a natural fit for the store because as owners of a flooring business in Santa Fe, Santa Fe Flooring, they bring entrepreneurial experience in the same industry.
They have owned Santa Fe Flooring since 2015, Gaytan said. He explained that they turned their attention to Los Alamos and the Finishing Touch for their next business venture “because we think it’s a great opportunity to bring more options, more products to this community.”
While the store will no longer sell paint, Gaytan and Runo plan to continue providing all the other products carried by Finishing Touch and add some new inventory including tile from Daltile, Longust, Arizona Tile, Crossville and Interceramic. The store also will provide wool carpet and a line of countertops.
Ruano said the objective is to offer the same products found in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so people will not need to travel out of town. Gaytan agreed, adding that the main objective is “to make it more accessible for the community so they don’t have to travel.”
One feature that will remain unchanged is the Finishing Touch’s commitment to serve the community.
“We’re 100 percent community-oriented,” Gaytan said. “We want to bring more options and also be a part of the community. We want to help whatever organizations need help; supporting good causes in the community.”
Sowder said she immediately felt a connection with the new owners.
“Julio and Marcelo are young, enthusiastic and experienced. They bring fresh and innovative ideas. My hope is that, through them, the business will continue to be a viable part of our community for another 38 years,” she said. “I am pleased to be turning over the store to them.”
Sowder said it has been a “real honor” to own the store for so many years.
“I feel incredibly privileged to have had great customers … a hardworking staff and wonderful installers. It took all of us to make this a successful enterprise,” she said.
Gaytan said they are really grateful to Sowder for giving them the opportunity to purchase the Finishing Touch and continue serving the community.
“We hope we can meet all their expectations and continue her legacy,” he said.
Ruano added, “We’re really happy with how welcomed we feel in the community and how amazing Cheryl has been helping us.”
Sowder will assist Gaytan and Ruano through December to ensure a smooth transition of ownership.
Gaytan and Ruano encourage everyone to attend the Nov. 11 open house. Gaytan said everyone is welcome to not only celebrate the grand opening but also honor Sowder.