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home : features : features June 24, 2016


1/21/2014 10:25:00 AM
Slice of life: the Williams Visitors Center's Aggie Bustillos
Public Lands Interpretive Association Bookstore Manager Aggie Bustillos. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Public Lands Interpretive Association Bookstore Manager Aggie Bustillos. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Williams-Grand Canyon News


What is your job here at the Visitor Center?

I work for Public Lands Interpretive Association, they call it PLIA. I run the bookstore for them. I buy all the books and be sure that they're there. And I take care of the money. I deposit the money for the whole store. Then I work up in front like now and give information and stuff like that.

How did you get involved?

I worked so many places. I worked for the Forest Service, I worked for Canyon Country Inn, I had a restaurant for five years. So then I saw this in the paper and so I thought, well I'll try it, I've never done anything like it. So I came and the man from PLIA in Albuquerque interviewed me. Then they had to have a reference from somebody. So then they hired me.

And I came and the register is so different because they have PLU numbers and you have to enter that PLU number so you can do the sale. So Pimi (Bennett) was working here at that time. So she and I tried to get that PLU number and we couldn't get the darn thing to work. And so I said, "Well this is going to be the shortest job I've ever had." So I went home and during the night this number came to me, so I came back the next morning and put it in. So I've been here for 13 years.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work two and a half days a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays and half a day on Fridays because I have to come in and see if the money is worth depositing. I have to do all the paperwork and send it in to Albuquerque. So that's what I do. I have a lot of paperwork that I do and keep up sales and all this kind of stuff.

For the bookstore, I look and see what we're out of and then I order to keep up the sales and then I have to price them all and then they send me the books to put in here. They're the ones that pick out whatever we need. We try to do a lot of Grand Canyon and Route 66 stuff.

And then when I'm through then I help them give out information, which is nice. You meet a lot of people. A lot of them that don't speak English I can speak Spanish to them, and we get a lot of foreigners. So it's nice. Right now it's the slowest time of the year but in the summer, my gosh, we really are busy. Like today we've had 28 people, but in the summertime it's over 300. Sometimes they're so thick in there you don't know who to talk to. So it's really nice.

What's your favorite part about your job?

Well, all of it. I like to do the bookwork, which I really enjoy, and it keeps me up on my figures and all of that kind of stuff. And some of the books are really interesting. And talking to the people. I enjoy my job.

What's the worst part of your job?

I don't think there's any bad part of it. Everybody here is really nice. I enjoy working with all of them. We have many changes, they come and they go.

What are some of the most common questions people have when they come in?

Where is the train? And see the train is over there. And the other one is how do you get to the Grand Canyon? And we have the folders and we show them on there how you get to the Canyon and all the different viewpoints and stuff like that. We have a guide and so we hand it out to the people.

What are some of the strangest questions you've gotten?

This one guy, he said, "The train that goes down to the bottom of the Canyon." And I said, "There's no train that goes to the bottom of the Canyon." And he said, "I saw a train at the bottom of the Canyon." And I thought, well I don't know what you were drinking, but anyway. I think that's about it.

Do you plan to stay at this job for a while?

For a while. I'll see how things go. Yesterday this lady asked me, she said, "Are you still at the Visitor Center?" And I said, "Yes." And she said, "How long are you going to work?" And I said, "Oh I don't know, I'm thinking about it." Because I'm 93 and it's not any work as far as I'm concerned. And I like it because it gets me out of the house.


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