El Encanto was born in the midst of the tourist boom in Cross port. Back in the 70s of the last century, when traveling was only for a lucky few and the Canary Islands were the closest thing to paradise. At that time, Jesús Gutiérrez, known as Borbolla, decided to set up a women’s and children’s clothing store.
He did it after returning from Galicia, after his career as a Celta de Vigo player, where he “made some dogs” and when he returned, after the 50s, and with the money he had saved, he started out as an entrepreneur. He first opened a dry cleaner’s, then a Cortefield branch on Avenida Emilio Luque, in La Orotava, his hometown, until he finally opted for Puerto de la Cruz. It was a municipality that he always liked and where he also played soccer as a member of the Club Norte, which brought together the best players in the region at the El Peñón field. There, 53 years ago, he opened the El Encanto boutique, located in front of the port dock, and the only one in the branch that survives, since others, even emblematic, and very close, such as the department stores located in front of the Chimisay cinema, on Calle San Juan, or Galerías Liz, did not have the same luck.
Jesús Gutiérrez was a visionary in every way and broke stereotypes for the time. He was quite modern, even in dressing. “He always liked tennis shoes and the colors in the clothes he wore, he was a very advanced person for his time,” says his daughter Sandra. He passed away in September of last year but his niece, Elvira, and two of his four children, Sandra and Tomás, continue with the business “which was his life and his great illusion.”
Elvira started working with her uncles from a very young age. She was at school and when she got out of class, in the afternoons, she would go down to the Port with them because she “loved the store”. And she has been there all her life. “I love going to see the samples, buying, window-shopping and dealing with the customer. I love my job and here I am, ”she underlines.
His cousin joined the business in 1993, although he first started in a smaller store that his father had on San Juan street. She was actually there since she was born, because she spent the afternoons in the park crib while her mother tended the store.
Tomás was the last to be part of the team by following his father’s football footprint. He started playing for UD Orotava, playing for Barcelona B, Hércules CF, Alicante, El Linense CF and UD Realejos. His sports career ended where he started.
From there he began his working career and did not hesitate to do it in the boutique.
Jesús told his children that he would often sit on the opposite sidewalk to see which of the two passed by more people and thus he verified that despite being the same street, the one in his place had an advantage. “It’s true and it’s a curious thing,” agrees his daughter. She liked the corner because of the view of the pier, the large showcase that it has and the proximity to Plaza del Charco, so she did not hesitate to buy it.
Having the property made things much easier during the pandemic. Just like having a “very good and very loyal” clientele.
“In our case, they went out of their way and responded super well, and since we were allowed to reopen, we did so and we started to work very well,” the two cousins add.
His secret to being a benchmark in local commerce all these years, as is the case with almost all small stores, is the treatment given to the customer, “because shopping centers are very good for young people, it’s another style Here we offer something else”, points out Elvira.
The situation in which the municipality finds itself also influences, especially in the last year. “There are many events and that affects trade because it is a chain. There has been a lot of tourism and we have worked very well throughout the winter season, although our clientele is mostly people from here”, says Sandra.
Elvira shares her cousin’s vision. “He is cleaner and above all, he has life.” She also witnessed the golden age of the first tourist municipality in the Canary Islands. “But that high-quality tourism no longer exists, now it is different. Among other things, because today everyone can travel and at that time only those who had purchasing power did it ”, she qualifies.
Times change and they also had to do it with their business. El Encanto was more focused on the tourism that came to the city, but with the appearance of shopping centers they were forced to offer different alternatives to their clients, so they opted for brands, sizes and more specialized attention.
And that has been the secret of having remained in the sector for so many years. But they do not complain, quite the opposite. “We continue in the fight and that is what must be done, because we are still excited about our work”, the three agree.