Faces of Fourth is a featured series on the folks that are the heart and soul of Historic Fourth Avenue. From the merchants who bring commerce to life, to the buskers who fill the avenue with sound, there are many people to celebrate on Fourth Avenue.
Monica Cota of Rustic Candle Company
Monica has been making candles since the early 2000’s. On a road trip, she stumbled across a small candle shop and instantly became mesmerized with the process of hand-pouring candles. She started dreaming about opening up a place of her own to pour wax and in 2002 a friend mentioned that he would be closing his business, T n T Smoke Shop at 324 N. 4th Avenue. That vacancy led way to turning the retail space into Rustic Candle Company, which specializes in pouring hand-crafted, scented pillar candles. They also sell incense, seasonal candles, and even accept and recycle your old wax!
We asked Monica, an Arizona native and Fourth Avenue Merchant, a few questions about what makes Fourth Avenue so special to her.
When did the Avenue first start playing a major role in your life?
In the middle to late 90s when I was bar tending on the Avenue during college. I was working at Berky’s on 4th (where the Surly Wench is currently located).
What’s one of your favorite things about the Avenue?
I love the eclectic feel and funkiness of the Avenue. Someone will walk past with a mohawk and the next, a business suite. I also treasure the fact that the Avenue has kept its roots in small, locally owned businesses and that keeps the feel of the avenue especially unique.
Where is one of your favorite places to frequent on Fourth?
Oh, that’s a tough one! There are so many favorites! I love to go to the Chocolate Iguana in the mornings for coffee! Those girls are so friendly, they brighten my day.
Tell us one of your most memorable experiences on the Avenue.
I’ll never forget the guy who had a dog, that had a cat, that had a mouse on its back. That was incredible. He had trained them to walk the Avenue and never budge. I’d bet he made some decent tips in those days.
If you could time travel, what year would you like to visit Fourth Avenue?
I would like to visit Fourth Avenue in the future, around 2040. I imagine the world will have changed. Maybe people will be flying around in their cars and riding hover boards but Fourth Avenue will still be exactly the same.
Monica is often working behind the counter at Rustic Candle and pouring beautiful, hand-made candles. You can visit Rustic Candle at 324 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705 and find more info on the store at: http://www.rusticcandle.net/