One of the most welcome sights from our recent visit to Gallup was a new storefront proclaiming Bill Malone Trading Co. Malone is one of the most experienced of the old time Indian traders left in the business; he also married into the Navajo, and his son-in-law is Perry Shorty, one of the most talented Navajo jewelers in business and a star of the SWAIA Indian Market. Perry always sells out of his booth holdings in record time.
Malone has not had an easy decade. Bureaucratic ineptitude led to his being removed from a longtime position as trader at Hubbell Trading Post, and the story, a fascinating one for those of us suspicious of governmental management practices, can be found in The Case of the Indian Trader. Malone had gone on to run Shush Yaz in Gallup, but we found him now at his own shop at 235 W. Coal Avenue, on the block right behind Richardson’s Trading Co. He sells mostly Navajo arts, and his rugs, pots, baskets and jewelry are of great quality. My friend and I found vintage watchbands with fine coral stones there, a commodity hard to get nowadays. A practical-minded man, he also offers watch battery replacements and jewelry repairs. The presence of this reputable trader in town is a bonus indeed, and his shop’s wares are the product of a genuine understanding and affinity for the best in Native-made arts.