Ambrosia Koontz opened her new shop, The Lost Gypsy, at the beginning of October, combining thrift and boutique items. In the Royer Building on Grand Avenue, she’s selling a mix of some gently used items, along with some new ones, too.

The Lost Gypsy has jewelry, clothing and other accessories. Koontz says there is “a little something for everyone,” so she encourages people to come by and see the shop for themselves.

Originally from California, Koontz moved to Naturita in March. She has other family living in the West End, too. She said she and her mother participated in an event for Pioneer Day at the Royer Building. That’s when she and Patti Jo Royer talked about the possibility of Koontz opening a shop space there.

Her mother, Felina Vasquez, helps her run the shop and also participates by offering creative services. In addition to selling retail items, Vasquez hand-paints denim items with acrylic paint in a process she calls “staining.” Koontz said her mother is painting jeans, jean jackets, vests or other items for $30. Patrons can also buy denim items affordably in the resale portion of the shop.

Koontz herself is making homemade soaps, cologne and perfumes that she sells.

In a special type of artwork, she’s inscribing names on grains of rice.

“I can do up to nine letters,” she said. “My mom taught me to do it. She lost her eyesight, so I decided to start doing it, and I have been pretty successful at it.”

Koontz places a finished rice grain in a bottle and attaches it to a chain or a keychain as a collectible item with other ingredients — some for preservation purposes and others for decoration. 

According to Koontz, many people have come into The Lost Gypsy store in the last few weeks. She said several locals visited for Halloween, since the shop gave out free candy. That day, Koontz and her mother also gave away some of the resale toys.

She invites people to come into her shop the next few months during the holiday season. Now, the shop has expanded to include two rooms, which makes for a bigger browsing space.

She’s booked Santa Claus to come to The Lost Gypsy on Dec. 19. Then she’ll have affordable photo sessions using a Polaroid camera, and kids can leave with a picture of themselves with Santa.

She said she is loving small-town living, especially since she left LA County when the pandemic started. She and her mother both worked as EMTs in the city, a field that they’d rather not return to at this point.

“We will stop and help, but we are retired,” Koontz said. “I am not eager to get on an ambulance anytime soon — not after the stuff we’ve seen.”

She said she thinks both Naturita and Norwood are “beautiful,” and she appreciates “the nature” surrounding her.

Koontz is proud that recently the mayor of Nucla showed up in her shop, gave his blessing and also encouraged her to open something similar in the West End.