In 2015, Toris-Silva found princess companies in New Jersey and developed a plan to introduce the princesses on the train. “I didn’t know what to do, so I saw there were companies in New Jersey that did this and reached out to them,” shared Toris-Silva, who was able to offer the companies a mixture of financial payment and marketing through the museum and the events they attended. “It worked out well for them. They agreed to that and were able to secure events from that. Due to the popularity, we decided to try a non-moving event at the museum, which was a tea party that takes place in an antique train car. It sold out in nine hours. We added a second weekend just for the demand.”
Kelly MacNiven also found support in the small business community in Durango. She attends the local Chamber events for networking opportunities, and has developed a good rapport with other local photographers. “We can all help each other out and there’s enough room for everybody,” said MacNiven. “There’s enough business to go around. We don’t need to be competitive. It works and we all help each other out and it’s a great community of artists and business owners making sure there’s enough room for all of us, doing what we love to do.”
Their first date was a few weeks later at the old Solid Muldoon, where Laurie had her first drink, a hot buttered rum. More dates would follow, and one night, they stopped on a back road to sit on the hood of the car and look at the stars. Laurie would only later learn that the road was just above the Barker family ranch.
“I genuinely cared about him and not about who he was and what he represented,” said Laurie, who continued to work at the Strater in various departments. “I wasn’t putting together the magnitude of what it all meant. At the time, the Strater had singing waiters and waitresses. I liked the singing part. I didn’t know about the legacy or all that. I don’t think I knew the whole picture yet.”