It took a lot of work to get Leo’s in a place where it can welcome in the community again. Holding gatherings and hosting guest speakers comes with a set of requirements, like a working bathroom…for example. With the help of John Beck, Jess Valdez is leading the charge to beautify Leo’s, helping it to realize more of its potential. We got a chance to ask Jess some questions so we can all get to know him more:
Tell us about yourself!
My family is from Superior so I have lived here on and off my whole life. About eight years ago I moved to Phoenix but after five years of living in Phoenix I was glad to move back. Before I moved I was the Art Teacher for the school district for about two years before teaching in Apache Junction at a small charter school. After meeting my wife about three years ago we decided to move back to my childhood home in Superior for the more peaceful atmosphere and to be closer to nature.
What do you love about Superior?
There are so many things that I love about Superior it is hard to just pick one, I enjoy the peaceful nature of the town and the friendly people. The residents of Superior seem to have a better respect for nature and all the benefits of living in a small town. Not hearing sirens all the time and the constant hustle and bustle of the big city is wonderful. My wife and I enjoy being able sit outside on our porch with our animals and just enjoy the noises of nature and being able to connect with the environment.
If you could wave a magic wand and improve something about our community, what would it be?
I feel since I have been back to Superior I have seen too many small businesses on main street shut down. I was especially sad to see the comic book store shut down. Having the small businesses in town thrive again would be a great site to see.
What potential do you see in our community?
I feel the community is growing for the better. Main street, compared to when I left, is in great shape, most of the building look in good repair. Every event the town puts on has been a success, I go to every one and they all seem to get bigger and bigger. With Leo’s I feel this town will gain a huge asset it hasn’t had before or in a long time. The town really needs a place that the community can gather and discuss ideas or learn about new concepts. It would be a great place for kids to gather after school as a safe space where they could get help with homework or just “hang out”.
What has it been like bringing new life to Leo’s?
Bringing life to Leo’s has been an amazing experience. Growing up here and seeing Leo’s turn into something more than the neighborhood market to get chorizo is astonishing. The building has a history within the town and with the transformation it now has a chance to be a beacon for the community in its future development.
What else do you want people to know?
I want people to know that along with it’s rich history and past the town of Superior has a great future. People leave but it seems most people come back eventually, or always keep Superior in their hearts.
Thank you Jess for sharing your story with us, and thank you for the hard work you’ve put in to get Leo’s going again. When things really take off at Leo’s, we’ll all remember and express gratitude for the work and heart you and John put in during the early days to pave the way for the blessings our community enjoys.