In the spring of 1985, Jim and Marge Choquette, the owners of The Clean Sweep Company, were approached by Juan "C", a Peruvian architect by training, and a political exile by necessity. Juan was in hiding for something he had either said or done to someone high in the Peruvian government, which at that time was a ruthless military dictatorship. In any regard, Juan was not able to practice his profession in the United States because of licensing requirements. In order to make a living, he was working as a janitor for Clean Sweep. He wanted to supplement his income by importing handicrafts from his home country, but he was afraid to put his name on the required documents. He needed someone to front for him. Thus, a partnership was established, 'C' (for Choquette) /'C' (for Juan "C") Imports. As initially envisioned, Juan was eventually to be the Peruvian Purchasing Agent, while Marge and Jim would handle sales in the United States. We never really did find out what Juan's Peruvian problem was, but it must have been rather serious! When Juan eventually returned to Peru with his family, he promptly disappeared. He has never been heard from again.
C/C Imports is located in Austin, Texas, which is not only a very beautiful little city, it is also the home of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Latin American Studies, The University of Texas. The only reason this is mentioned is that its library contains the largest collection of Latin American books in the United States. For the first few months after the formation of C/C Imports, Jim spent ten hours a day researching Peru and Peruvian handicrafts.
We quickly fell in love with Peru, visiting different locations each trip - averaging three-four visits yearly. We found many "one-of-a-kind" pieces and couldn't resist buying them. The only problem was that C/C Imports is primarily a wholesale company - which means that we had no way to sell them. So, we opened our little gallery next to the Clean Sweep Company to display the many beautiful items we picked up during our travels. Please feel free to tour our gallery.