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Foothills business selling store after over 50 years because of owner’s health issues

"“It’s not corporate. It’s not in a mall. It’s just that it’s an old-school store and people like that.”
Desert Son
Posted at 9:55 PM, Jun 05, 2024

CATALINA FOOTHILLS, Ariz. (KGUN) — Polishing a bracelet, Urv Cox reflected on the last fifty years that he’s known the owner of Desert Son, Steve Osborne. It's located at 4759 E Sunrise Drive in Tucson.

They met through a merchant over half a century ago and have kept in touch ever since.

“We always seem to get along. Our friendship would come and go but it’s been pretty steady the whole time,” Cox said. “Had a lot of good times together.”

Osborne moved Desert Son a few times since he first opened its doors in 1969. He originally opened up on Fourth Avenue in Tucson before moving a few times. He eventually settled in the Foothills on Sunrise and Swan where it has been the past 35 years.

“He knows how to buy things. He knows how to merchandise things, and he’s lucky,” Cox said about his friend.

The store sells Native American merchandise from necklaces to kachina dolls to ornate belts.

“Coral on one side, and turquoise on the other in one necklace. It’s fairly rare,” Cox commented on one of the necklaces.

Cox has seen the store grow since he started working there over ten years ago. He attributes that to the many regulars that walk through the store’s doors.

“The thing that’s made the store last so long is the quality of our merchandise and our fair pricing. That’s why we have so many repeat businesses,” he said.

However, Cox said Osborne is selling because of personal and health issues. Osborne is now going to put his focus on other things.

Cox said they don’t know when the store is closing because they still have to find a seller. In the meantime they are having a sale.

Cox is hoping the owner keeps the Native American store’s merchandise as is and hopes the store still sells Native American items. The culture and heritage is at the center of what Cox is hoping the next owner will value.

“It’s unusual. That’s why people coming in here. It’s not corporate. It’s not in a mall. It’s just that it’s an old-school store and people like that,” he said.

Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.