Which business is the oldest business in the state of Colorado? How far back in time would we need to travel to visit this business on opening day?

To find the oldest operating business in the Centennial State, we would need to travel back to a time before Colorado was a state. Even back to a time before Colorado was a territory. Technically, this store pre-dates the Colorado gold rush era of 1858-1859.

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Where is the Oldest Business in Colorado?

To find the oldest operating business in Colorado, we should probably look in the state's oldest community in San Luis, Colorado. The settlers and explorers of the Old West founded San Luis, Colorado, in 1851. By 1857, the town opened its first grocery store and market.

R&R Market in Colorado

Colorado's R&R Market was opened in May of 1857 at the corner of Main Street and Archie Street. This market is the oldest and longest-running business in Colorado. The R&R Market was opened by Dario Gallegos, who started the shop with just $452. This business remained in the hands of the Gallegos family until 2017.

Built with 25-inch adobe bricks, the building featured a foundation of stone and mud mortar. R&R Market survived an Indian attack on San Luis in 1858. Fires in 1895 and 1945 nearly erased this historic building from Costilla County.

Improvments and Renovations

Acequia Institute purchased the market in 2022. The group based out of  Viejo San Acacio, Colorado. After the purchase, they renamed the R&R Market the San Luis People's Market. The hope is the landmark can become a community-based food co-op, led by the workers.

In July of 2023, the market began the necessary environmental clean-up for asbestos, lead paint, and black mold abatement one might expect in a 166-year-old business. Follow the market's Facebook page or website to know when they reopen after the remodeling, resuming their role as the oldest operating business in Colorado.

LOOK: 10 Things You May Not Have Known About Colorado's Oldest Town

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