The grand opening of the Santa Rosa Pít Stop, the convenience store and fuel station built by the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians, was June 3. The Santa Rosa Pít Stop is located on Highway 74, east of Paradise Cafe on the way to Palm Desert from the mountain communities. After 10 years of planning, construction began eight months ago.
“It’s exciting and it’s a little scary with the pandemic,” said Tribal Council Member and Lead Manager Mayme Modesto. “For me, it was a personal dedication that I committed to. I’ve lived here since I was a child. Knowing how things evolve, the needs are growing and expenses are growing. We need the income.”
“Pinnacle Bank funded the project and we hired very experienced consulting groups — Sunflower Consulting and Oak & Stone Consultants,” Modesto said.
While eight months seems quick, the original plan was to have it done even earlier than that.
“We had hoped to have it opened in mid-April, but due to weather it was about six weeks off schedule,” Modesto said.
With the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians needing the financial support, this is a good start as the tribe is a non-gaming tribe. Having to finance the upkeep of their roads and utilities, this provides them that opportunity.
“We have to find means to support our own government,” Modesto explained. “With all these needs going up as more people come back to live on the reservation, we have to meet that with more income. This isn’t the money-maker like casinos are, but just for the tribe to have something, it was important for them.”
Modesto is the lead manager along with managers Mercedes Estrada, Alyssa Gray and Dolores Odem. The team has the Santa Rosa Pít Stop open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.