At the age of 25 Mrs.Maruja Pérez Sánchez, along with her husband Antonio Álvarez, decided to set up a shop: “La Tienda de Maruja” (Maruja’s Shop).
That’s what the locals called it and still call it.
The idea came about in view of the scarcity and lack of supplies at that time on the Trevelez high plateaus. Plateaus where now and again you’d see a vehicle come past followed by a cloud of dust as the road was little more than a bridle path adapted to the width of vehicles.
As I was saying, the idea was all Maruja’s because back at the start Antonio was reluctant; he wanted to relocate his family to Granada but Maruja wasn’t too keen. Even if it meant hardship she preferred to live in the village and she let her husband know: You keep doing your cattle stuff and buying and selling spuds and beans, I’ll get by giving people what they need!. And when she said “giving” that wasn’t far removed from what the word actually meant at that time as payment was made every harvest-time.
Back then the Maruja shop sold food products (bulk oil and sugar, condensed milk whose containers people made the most of as kitchenware, some canned food...), footwear (Chiruca boots, espadrilles, sandals ...), some kitchenware, clothes etc.
In the meantime Antonio carried on with his business. This included buying or bartering hams from pig slaughters for their subsequent sale at the shop, in particular to strangers who had already begun to appear around the village. Sometimes these hams would be used to pay the debts built up by the shop. The shop, like the times, was gradually making progress.
A furniture and electrical appliances’ exhibition was set up in an adjoining building which supplied the whole village and part of the district. The first washing machines and TV sets of the type which we had to install ourselves. Besides his ham business, Antonio had already started to salt and cure his own pieces. However,...... as time relentlessly marched on, Spanish society gradually improved and everything Maruja’s shop had could now be acquired at other shops. Except for the rich hams that Antonio was salting and curing. That’s why with the ever greater flow of tourists (no longer strangers) the shop gradually became what it is today; a modern shop specializing in hams (all produced by Antonio Álvarez) and food products from the district.
All the hams commercialised by Tienda Maruja are produced by Antonio Álvarez “ Jamones “ S.L. the company to which the shop belongs. It is the no.1 producer registered with the Regulatory Council for the Specific Denomination “Jamón de Trevélez “ has 6.000 m2 premises and a production capacity of 150,000 pieces.
The drying kilns are located on the outskirts of Mulhacen right in the heart of the National and Natural Park of Sierra Nevada. This location provides them with a dry-cold microclimate in Winter and dry-warm in summer, ideal for our type of curing, 100% natural and without any added artificial preservatives or dyes.