Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Modern General

In the not too distant past, the world offered fewer choices, but people took their allegiance to one product or service over another very, very seriously.  For example, your family was either aligned with Ford or Chevy, Coke or Pepsi, cornflakes or shredded wheat (maybe, maybe you could convince your mother to buy frosted cornflakes), Time or Newsweek, Walter Cronkite or Huntley- Brinkley, Ivory soap or Palmolive.  We were a Ford, Coke, cornflakes, Time , Huntley- Brinkley and Ivory soap family and that was pretty much that.

Then the world exploded with products and brands.  Now there is a lot of stuff out there, but a lot of the stuff is junk. Who has time to research the “best” in any given category?

Enter Erin Wade  who just opened Modern General, located  adjacent to her farm to table restaurant Vinaigrette on 637 Cerrillos. The space is bright and light and welcoming with a large table for eating, reading and chatting with friends.

Modern General harkens back to the general stores of old, a community space with hardware, books, and a cafe, but with a twist. Erin sells only one kind of any one item: one shovel, one shampoo, one hammer, one brand of coffee, one cutting board.  She offers items she actually uses and is guided by the slogan “everything you need and nothing you don’t.”

The cafe serves fresh squeezed juices and smoothies, fresh wheatgrass, one type of breakfast sandwich, one lunch sandwich, homemade granola drizzled with honey, freshly brewed coffee, apricot kolaches from Erin’s grandmother’s recipe.


Just stand at the front of the store and look around. A narrative unfolds. One can be enough. Elegant design, functionality, longevity and simplicity, all in one perfect shovel.