December 21, 2001 - Arizona Daily Star : Costa Rica RPCV John Kopplin runs Maya Palace in Tuscon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Costa Rica: Peace Corps Costa Rica : The Peace Corps in Costa Rica: December 21, 2001 - Arizona Daily Star : Costa Rica RPCV John Kopplin runs Maya Palace in Tuscon

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, January 28, 2002 - 9:52 am: Edit Post

Costa Rica RPCV John Kopplin runs Maya Palace in Tuscon

Read and comment on this story from the Arizona Daily Star on Costa Rica RPCV John Kopplin and Maya Palace in Tuscon at:

Elegant yet comfortable Maya Palace *

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Elegant yet comfortable Maya Palace

Dec 21, 2001 - Arizona Daily Star Author(s): Kristen Cook

Classy casual fashions, accessories and more

Don't expect to find basic black at Maya Palace.

There's not much that's basic - or even black - at the boutique.

"I have a hard time getting simple," said Tucsonan Susana Kopplin, who owns Maya Palace with her husband, John.

The store features fashions with flair. And if you're looking for some glitz and glamour this holiday party season, look no further. Maya Palace is known for its special-occasion dresses. In fact, said John, many teens shop for their proms here. Mothers of the bride have plenty of options, as do those looking for that perfect plus-size New Year's Eve party dress.

Susana's love of rich colors shows throughout Maya Palace, but especially in the formal wear. Vibrant jewel tones reign from a shimmery, purpleball gown with beaded trim ($474) to an iridescent, olive dress decorated with beaded leaves and straps that look like leaf clusters ($305).

For an evening out dancing, check out the red, hand-crocheted, spaghetti-strap dress decorated with sequins ($218). And what a bonus - it's handwashable.

Maya Palace's Broadway location is so jammed with merchandise that there's hardly any bare wall space. Clothes hang from the ceiling; scarves and hats cover the walls. It's a tight squeeze through most of the aisles.

"That's one of the hallmarks of our store - it's always packed with stuff," John said.

The Kopplins opened Maya Palace in 1978. The two, who met in Costa Rica when John was in the Peace Corps, had traveled through Central America in a Volkswagen bus, buying up goods and selling them wholesale. Their success triggered the opening of their retail store.

These days, Maya Palace doesn't carry quite as many imports, although you can still find exotic delights. Pick up a woodcarved African cane ($32), or perhaps natural nail files - they look like white, curled potato chips - made from the scales of fish that swim in the Amazon ($1.50).

Though the boutique carries mostly women's clothing, you can find fancy dresses for little girls and some men's shirts. The accessories sport the same flash as the clothing.

A pair of women's slide sandals from Bali have suede uppers and a handcarved wooden heel ($49). Resin sculptured handbags from a company called Maya feature freshwater pearls and a detachable strap that doubles as a sleek belt ($284).

And, of course, if you need help pulling an outfit together, the employees at Maya Palace are only too happy to help, John said.

"Consistently, what we hear from people is they come here because we dress them. It's not uncommon for someone to come in and go out with 30 or 40 different things," John said, adding with a chuckle, "which we love."


Maya Palace

6332 E. Broadway (in El Mercado) and 2960 N. Swan Road, Suite 133 (in Plaza Palomino)

What: Mostly women's fashions - from classy casual to bridal - as well as gifts, jewelry and accessories.

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays (Plaza Palomino is open Sundays in December.)

Information: 748-0817 (Broadway), 325-6411 (Swan)

Prices: 25 cents to $1,200

Contact Kristen Cook at 573-4194 or at

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By bons on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 6:55 pm: Edit Post

hello!!!!!! anyone out there from peace the group that trained in costa rica in 1979 and/or went on to the dominican republic??? bonnie hofeling-mayer

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