He was born in the municipality of The Victory of Acentejoon Carretera Vieja until he moved to his current address, at number 204 Carretera General, where he has his store.
Concepción González Guzmán was 15 years old when her parents closed the eating house they ran. She agreed that she had finished her basic studies, so she asked them if with that money, she could put a haberdashery Since she was a child she liked to sew a lot and she was clear that she wanted to be among buttons, threads, ribbons, elastics and wool.
His parents fulfilled his wish and on August 15, 1975 he opened his store, a date that he will never forget. He was in charge of the small haberdashery for a year until an unforeseen event forced the family to change plans. All the savings they had taken from the restaurant were in the Santaella loan agency, which “went down the drain” and their parents were left with nothing, like many people in Tenerife, so they had to “give them back” the business so they could get ahead.
During the time that her parents attended and took charge of the store, she dedicated herself to sewing: communion suits, wedding suits, costumes, kitchen towels, baby clothes and everything that fell into her hands. Her mother was a seamstress and her grandmother also liked this work very much. She was signed up to learn dressmaking, an activity that she loved -and she loves- and that she picked up very quickly.
They promised her that the haberdashery would be hers again as soon as possible. So it was. Her mother worked there for more than two decades until she retired in 1999 and returned to her hands on December 1 of that same year.
At first he kept the small room but over the years he expanded and adapted it according to the needs of the clientele.
Large stock in Bazar-Haberdashery Conce
From kitchenware to clothing, including toys, shoes, sheets, table linen, decoration and kitchen items, gifts, typical and Carnival costumes that she makes herself, to jewelry, without neglecting the merchandise of a haberdashery. But that’s not all, hair dyes, the classic Lagarto soaps, candles, fans, umbrellas and bags of sweets “because boys and men come with a sweet tooth”, complete her extensive stock. Like the wizards, she can pull out a coffee pot under a set of sheets or a strip of colored stickers hidden behind a board game.
At first it was a store of 150, a distinctive that it still retains on the façade, and later it was transformed into Bazar Mercería Conce. The first question you ask yourself when you arrive at the store is how do you find things. “Just as you know what you have at home, here I also know what I have, where I have it, and I go straight to look for it,” he explains.
And when someone tells her that there is no room for anything else, she does not hesitate to answer: “You are to blame because you start asking, asking and I no longer have room,” she jokes. But she always makes her clients happy.
“People would come and ask me if I had pajamas because I was going to be admitted to the hospital. And so I started adding some slippers to get up, a blanket and one thing led to another. By ordering there are hundreds of items that people ask for and sometimes it is impossible to find, for example, the old coffee strainer, because that is no longer available, ”she says.
One day some boys stopped in front of the store and asked him if he knew where El Corte Inglés de La Victoria was. He told them no and “dead laughing” they left. Until that moment she was unaware that her business was known by that name, “because it has everything”, there is nothing that cannot be found there, like in department stores and if it does not have it, surely she will get it.
However, when they insist that “he has everything” he clarifies that this is not the case. “I don’t have everything, that’s misunderstood. What I am saying is that nothing is missing from what I have,” says Conce. She is a very flirtatious woman, she loves to talk about her work “because she loves it” and she spreads her enthusiasm. That is noticeable and customers perceive it.
She herself is in charge of buying from wholesalers, visiting stores, looking, comparing prices, choosing and loading the merchandise, although sometimes she has help for the latter. She asks for other things from the Peninsula. “To get everything you have to walk a lot,” she emphasizes.
Sewing: her true passion
The typical costumes of the Canary Islands are one of its ‘strong points’. He acquires the fabrics and makes them because it is better and more profitable than buying them already made and completes them with different accessories: hats, sashes, espadrilles, cuffs and scarves. In his store, next to the main counter, the dates of the next pilgrimages and magicians’ balls are written down in his own handwriting.
Next to one of the windows she has her sewing machine, her little treasure. “It’s the second, because the first chipped off and it’s the same age as the store, 22,” she says.
She never stopped sewing, it is her true passion and today she also continues to make alterations if they are not very complicated.
When he started with the Carnival costumes, people crowded outside his house. “There were people who spent up to two hours waiting to buy a costume. The good thing is that they did it quickly, they didn’t even try it on, people were less demanding”, he says. “Back then, there were few stores and people got desperate when the date approached.”
His clients continue to be loyal to him despite all the large and small establishments there are and, moreover, they come from different parts of the Island.
Conce had to adapt to new technologies. A month after the store reopened, she was forced to reconcile the peseta with the euro. “I remember that my mother told me that if it happened to her I had to close it, but I gradually adapted divinely,” she asserts.
This was followed by credit card payment, and other changes necessary for their business survival. Among them, stop trusting. There were people who denied that they had a debt, they did not pay it and instead of canceling it, they went to buy elsewhere. After some bad experiences, he learned his lesson. He now reserves what they ask for and when the client can, he picks it up and pays for it.
Masks during the pandemic
During the pandemic, Conce spent three and a half months without being able to work despite the fact that, like all merchants, he had to pay taxes. “Do you know what I did? I dedicated myself to making cloth masks because there was nowhere to be found.”
At that time, he sewed 800 large ones and 200 small ones and distributed them throughout the town, took them to the pharmacy, to those who needed it and even went to pick them up at his house. He also edited a video and distributed it in which he taught how to make them.
Concepción has not yet decided until when she will continue to be in charge of the store. “I want to continue working. If I am well and God gives me life and health, I will be a few more years. Because you are with people, you talk, you have your routine, you get ready, at home it is not the same, ”she assures. And if there is something that she cannot deny, it is that she is “very presumptuous as my mother used to say”.
Since he has been in charge of the haberdashery bazaar, he has never taken a vacation. When she was alive, her husband took a week off, but now it is only closed on holidays, on Sundays and if he has to go shopping one day a week. “I’m like the pharmacy, I have to be there 24 hours a day, I can’t fail,” she says, convinced.