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.
If you’ve spent any time on the Avenue, chances are you’ve popped into the cutest, boutique kitchen store: Mabel’s on 4th. Or if you have a pet, you may have taken them to Rosie’s Barket for a treat! Both of these establishments are known for their whimsical gadgets, gizmos, and approach to retail. They also share another commonality, they are both owned by husband-and-wife team, Nicole and Johnny Carrillo!
Nicole Carrillo grew up in Colorado, where she met her high school sweetheart and now husband, Johnny. When they were 18 and 19 years old, Johnny joined the Navy and the two of them started traveling the world through his work. Despite the changing scenery and the birth of her three sons, one thing always remained constant in Nicole’s life: her love for small retail shops.
After Johnny retired, the duo looked West to find their new home and set up shop(s). Tucson, Arizona was calling.
Since moving to Tucson, Nicole has become an active member of the community. She loves spending time with the other shop owners on the Ave. and supporting at all of the locally owned restaurants.
We chatted with Nicole to find out what makes Fourth Avenue a special place for her.
When did the Avenue first start playing a major role in your life?
Fourth Avenue first became a part of my life by accident. I was visiting a friend in Tucson and the first time I stopped by the Avenue I thought that Pop-Cycle was one of the cutest things I had ever seen! On a return visit I showed Johnny the area and we saw an open store front. It was like something just clicked – this was where Mabel’s was meant to be!
What’s one of your favorite things about the Avenue?
My absolute favorite thing about Fourth Avenue is the passion that can be so clearly seen within the other local merchants. There is just so much love and enthusiasm behind every small brick and mortar on the avenue. It’s so incredible to see!
Where is one of your favorite places to frequent on Fourth?
One of my favorite places to visit on Fourth Ave is Pop-Cycle. It’s my absolute go-to when I’m looking for my gift-giving needs (outside of the kitchen and dog worlds). Beside that, it’s always so lovely to see Libby. Who can resist that smile?! She’s such a day-maker.
Tell us one of your most memorable experiences on the Avenue.
The most memorable experience I’ve had on the avenue by far is my first ever Street Fair. OMG. Everyone told me how busy it would be, but there was NO way to be prepared for how crazy it actually was! It was a wild, exhausting, and exciting day.
If you could time travel, what year would you like to visit Fourth Avenue?
I would love, love, love to take a peek into the future and see what Fourth Avenue will become. Small independently owned shops are THE wave of the future and I cannot wait to see how the ones that we have here grow. I also can’t wait to see new ones find their way here! There’s just something about walking down an avenue filled with small, locally owned, passionately loved brick and mortar stores. I can’t wait to see it progress.
Visit Mabel’s on 4th at 419 North 4th Avenue and Rosie’s Barket at 327 East 7th Street, Tucson, Arizona.