Tibetan carpet vendor sets up shop in Frisco for the last time
Frisco CO, Colorado
FRISCO, Colorado ” Standing amidst knee-high piles of bright, intricately patterned Nepali carpets in a downstairs room at the Frisco Mall, Namgyal Tashi Budhathoki laments that business has been slow lately.
“Business is a little down, but it’s still okay,” Tashi said. “The economy is down everywhere. But if I can sell rugs here then I can give my factory workers work.”
Tashi has been coming to Summit County to sell traditional Nepali carpets for eight years, sending the money he makes back to Nepal to support his 60 employees and their children.
“The situation in Katmandu is not always good,” Tashi said. “We can’t sell our carpets throughout the year because there are not a lot of tourists.”
Ten years ago, Summit County resident Deborah Hage was in Nepal doing adoption work at orphanages, and she meandered into Tashi’s shop to buy a few pieces to take home with her.
“I went into his factory and met a few of his workers and their families,” Hage said. “Then he asked if I could sponsor him for a business visa in the U.S., which I agreed to do.”
Hage helped Tashi get established in Summit County, and the two formed an unlikely bond.
“She was always asking ‘What can I do?’ and it was a very big help,” Tashi said.
Carpets handmade in Tashi’s factory can be found in living rooms and hallways throughout the county, and his custom pieces have been shipped around the globe.
“His specialty is custom designs, which are just beautiful,” Hage said. “The quality is wonderful, and they are a rare find.”
Carpet manufacturing has been a traditional business in Nepal for centuries, and the influx of Tibetan refugees to Katmandu in the late 1950s helped establish the trade as a viable economic commodity.
“There are really only a few traditional carpet makers left, and most have set up shops in America,” Tashi said. “If I can sell more and make money then I can support my business back home.”
“The carpets are traditional, they are a piece of Nepal,” Tashi added.
For those who had the opportunity to purchase a carpet from Tashi during his brief stay in the county, a piece of Nepal now has a place in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.