We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Littleton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andy, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Our store is owned by two families who each have a lot going on! Emily has four kids and her husband Kent is working on a degree. Andy has a daughter in high school, his wife is a nurse, and he also sits on a couple of boards and works at Mission Church. Work life balance has been a journey for us to say the least. There are days when you’ll find us working with our kids and considering Monday and Tuesday to be ‘the weekend.” Lately we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to bring on a couple great employees and even get our eldest kids to help cover the register and do some product photography. We have learned to let others do the things we aren’t great at, like bookkeeping and social media. Our hope is that this year we grow in these areas even more.

When we think of work life balance, we have to consider perfect balance as unattainable. It’s more like a sliding scale. Some weeks it’s going to be a little crazy, so we have to take advantage of the slow times and make sure we allow ourselves to rest and leave things undone. Having a partnership and a team is key for this. Sometimes we go through things in life that throw off our balance, and we have to lean on each other to help carry the load.

Lastly, we see our customers and vendors as an ever increasing part of balancing work and life for us. Being in our store is a joy because the people we meet and get to know are such sweet encouragements. We truly are enriched by these relationships and by your continuing support of beloved little store. If we succeed its because you invested in us. We can’t say thank you enough!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
MESA Shop is a small and ever-changing little home goods and accessory shop in the center of the Mercado San Agustin Annex in Tucson. We are excited to accessorize the homes of our patrons with the hues and tones of the desert. Originally we opened as the extension of Midtown Artisans, a custom furniture shop here in the city. After a year we separated the concepts, though Midtown is still one of our favorite vendors. Our connection to Midtown gave us a launching point with a loyal local customer base, which was a huge help!

The challenges of 2020 impacted us all, but it hit us at a unique time. We had just re-located within the annex and formed a new look and emphasis. The lockdown felt like a brick wall. Fortunately we were able to grasp at the opportunity to develop our online platform and had the time to offer free delivery for awhile. The Annex also bounced back early, being an indoor/outdoor shopping center. Though it was hard, it also got us more focused on ecommerce and connected us to new customers.

We’ve learned that the best thing about our story is the personal touch we bring to our store and our vendor and client relationships. Emily is an extremely talented decorator. Our store’s charm is an extension of her soul. Andy is a connector and loves to see people brought together and friendships kindled. These elements combined have made our store much more than a place of business. It’s a central piece to our communal lives, and we love expanding the community!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many great places to eat around here, but I feel like you need to try an old school Mexican-American place like El Charro downtown or El Torero in South Tucson, a small taco joint like Tacos Apson or Rollies in South Tucson, a Sonoran hotdog cart like Aqui Con El Nene (smaller the better!), and then you need to try some of the various excellent places around here like Kukai at the MSA Annex, Anello or Tumerico (vegan/vegetarian).

I always suggest that people drive west on Speedway toward Saguaro National Park and go through Gates Pass. If they want to learn new things about the Sonoran Desert, they’re already on their way toward the Desert Museum. If they just want to get outdoors they can hike King’s Canyon and get the desert experience from inside and then up above the canyon on the way out. If you time it just right, you can watch the sunset over Saguaro National Park on your hike out. Mid-hike you’ll see an incredible amount of petroglyphs on the canyon walls. It only takes about an hour to an hour and a half, and you get to see so much in that span of time!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My first and greatest shoutout in this life as a business owner has to go out to Emily Willert, our co-owner. This store is an expression of her passion and creative eye. Next up must be our local vendors. We have truly enjoyed, not only selling your stuff, but getting to know you over the years. Your incredible work is what makes our store beautiful. Lastly, we can’t forget the folks who make the Mercado District such a beautiful destination. We’re so grateful for the owners and managers of the Mercado and for our fellow store and restaurant owners. We are so fortunate to be a part of such a great business community.

Website: www.shopatmesa.com

Instagram: @shopatmesa

Facebook: @shopatmesa

Image Credits
Stephen Thomas Shannon Christine Photo Andy Littleton

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.