Starting in January, Petrified Forest National Park has a new concession contractor, Ortega National Parks. Ortega is relatively new to the concession business but growing quickly. They have operations from coast to coast and, just since they started with us, have added another new contract at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
The Ortega family has been in the retail and hospitality business for decades in the Southwest. They have several businesses on the square in Santa Fe and own the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup. Armand Ortega, the principal owner, was particularly interested in getting the Petrified Forest contract because he grew up between Holbrook and Winslow. His son Shane, who manages the concession contracts, recalls spending lots of time as a child with his grandparents at their place near Concho.
Since starting operations on New Year’s Day, Ortega has remodeled the gift shop at the Painted Desert Oasis and added many locally made items to their shelves. They have also instituted a new, healthier, menu in the restaurant. A remodel of the Rainbow Forest Lodge gift shop is in the works for later this year. The park is planning to replace the gas pumps at the gas station this year, too.