A Conversation with Wells Marvin

Submitted by: Greater Coachella Chamber of Commerce Staff

The developer of Old Town La Quinta

Developer Wells Marvin is always on the move, checking out what’s happening on Main Street. That includes routine stops for coffee at our neighborhood favorite, Old Town Coffee Company. For most who enjoy the shop, Old Town Coffee Company and the Main Street it sits on are a relaxing reprieve from crowded shopping malls and big box retail outlets. It’s a place that reminds people of the close-knit communities many of them grew up in. For Wells that is a fulfilling thought, “it’s exactly what I had in mind” he says with a smile.

After traveling and living in Europe, Palo Alto and Los Altos in Northern California, Wells moved to La Quinta with his family in 1997 to develop new homes. They brought with them a love of art and the 1920’s California architecture that defines the beauty of Santa Barbara, Carmel and the historic La Quinta Hotel and Resort. With a commitment to the best of California craftsmanship and lifestyle, Wells spent seven years building Old Town. He created what has become La Quinta’s Main Street, a gathering place that embodies the romance and ambience of the dream that first inspired it.

He recently sat down with Gem staff to discuss La Quinta’s Main Street.

Old Town La Quinta continues to thrive in a time when retail is supposedly struggling. What is your secret?

When I designed Old Town, I wanted it to be a place where people gather. Shopping today is about so much more than on-line or impersonal transactions; people want experiences. Old Town is a place people can get together, enjoy outdoor activities, dine with their family, experience unique shopping, run errands, even have offices and convenient business services. Everything old is new again, so the timeless authenticity of Main Street is very needed today. A sense of place, a neighborhood – it’s what people want.

People seem comfortable and at home in Old Town.

Yes, that’s the best thing about it. One of my favorite experiences is walking around on Main Street and hearing people tell friends that this is “their Main Street.” Whether strolling through the Farmers’ Market on a Sunday morning or having drinks with friends at the Old Town Tap Room, you will likely see people you know. This is a place where chefs and shop-owners often know their customers names. That warm feeling transfers to visitors too. The atmosphere is so welcoming they feel like they found their own little slice of home.

There is always something going on at Old Town, tell us about some of your activities.

We want people to be able to come to Old Town and enjoy their time here, so we host several events in season. The Farmers Market I mentioned runs every Sunday, October through April. First Thursdays features live music and outdoor entertainment. Art on Main Street is another event series that we’re very proud of. It features local artists so it’s a big part of our ‘shop local’ commitment, the community loves it and the City of La Quinta is our premier sponsor. All of these activities offer free admission and parking.

Tell us one last thing people may not know about Old Town.

It is open 7 days a week and our restaurants stay open through summer. That’s important to me. Sometimes you see restaurants in the area close during the summer, which is unfortunate because so many of our residents in La Quinta and the valley are here year-round. I wanted to build a place that was welcoming to desert locals anytime of the year, and our great local business owners in Old Town have helped to make that happen.

About Old Town La Quinta

Surrounded by beautiful mountain views, at Old Town you can discover more than 30 cafés, shops, boutiques, salons, a bank, and other business services in a setting treasured for its architectural charm and authentic Main Street. For more information visit oldtownlaquinta.com.

See why LQ is truly the Gem of the Desert. Check out places to eat, shop, and play. Download the guide today.