Tony owns and runs The Corral of Joshua Tree, a thrift store on the main drag through town.

Tony in his office at The Corral 

Tony in his office at The Corral 

Someplace: How long have you been in this area?

Tony: I’ve been here, I’d say, seven years.

Someplace: Where did you come from?

Tony: I was living in Long Beach, in the LA area.

Someplace: What brought you out here?

Tony: I just wanted to change my life, for my kids. My kids were in schools where every other kid was a gang member, every other kid carried a gun. I didn’t want them around that.

Someplace: How old are your kids?

Tony: Well, I finally got one of them to graduate once I came out here, and I got two more coming right behind her. My daughter, she’s 19, my boys are 16 and 17, then I’ve got an older one who’s 23.

Someplace: So it was a good decision?

Tony: Yes. The best decision I ever made in my life.

Someplace: And what’s the best thing about this area, for you?

Tony: The people. It’s a loving community. At Christmas time, people come together. We had a flood here, and people came together. They help you. You can go down to almost every corner and there’s a church. So there’s belief here. There’s stuff for everybody.

Someplace: Have you convinced any other people to move out here?

Tony: Me, I’ve brought probably three other families out here since I came. And they’re all just joining in. I say, why not move here? Especially people that are up in these metropolitan cities, where they’re paying high rents for these little shoeboxes. Over here you can own property. You can make a house payment here for like $250 a month. It’s real simple. It’s beautiful here.