Our Story
Elaine & Roger Thomas

Elaine & Roger Thomas

Andrew Vander Wagen, born in northern Holland in 1868, arrived in Zuni on October 11, 1897, along with his wife, Effa Hofma Vander Wagen. An accomplished horseman, Andrew came west as a scout and missionary for the Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Effa, a trained nurse, endeared herself to the Zuni people by saving numerous lives during the smallpox epidemic of 1898. Andrew and Effa opened their first trading post in 1903 and purchased the present store, Halona Plaza, in 1910. The store was purchased from the Barth Family, which had originally been built in Zuni in 1866.

Andrew and Effa raised nine children in Zuni. Bernard J. Vander Wagen, the eighth child of Andrew and Effa Vander Wagen, became a second generation trader in the early 1930s.

Since the 30’s the business has been operated by a number of Vander Wagen descendants and is currently owned and operated by the Vander Wagen’s granddaughter, Elaine, and her husband, Roger Thomas, along with their son, Loren Thomas.