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Our History

A love of music, a passion for travel and a mindful devotion to fun.

That’s all it took to launch Mexicali Blues back in 1988. What started with a breezy road trip and one tiny storefront in Portland, Maine, has since grown into five shops, an online retail and social hub, and our very own brand of unique and adventurous clothing, jewelry, and gifts. We believe in responsibly importing eclectic goods that you won’t find anyplace else. And yeah, we’re still super devoted to fun.

Owners Pete and Kim Erskine are Mexicali Blues' original seekers, surfing street markets and bazaars from Bangkok to Lima in search of diverse and wearable treasures. Our buying model has its roots in Mexicali’s very first inventory, a trove of funky, handmade clothes and accessories that Pete picked up during a post-college ramble through Mexico and Guatemala.

Back then, we supplemented our imported wares with a lot of Grateful Dead merchandise—we even took our name from one of our favorite songs. Today, you’ll still find plenty of Grateful and hippie-fied goods around the store, but Mexicali Blues has come a long way since that first little shop, crowded with concert tees and road-trip loot. (For starters, we don’t close up anymore just because, hey, it’s nice out.) 

We’ve spent thirty-two years expanding our global aesthetic, filling our shelves with everything from colorful batiks and tie-dyes to alluring gemstone jewelry, bohemian skirts and tops, and Eastern-inspired décor. Our apparel and accessories are handpicked and imported without any middlemen. We’re committed to creating and maintaining long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with the artisans and families who create our products. Pete and Kim have known many of our vendors for a decade or more, and a highlight of their travels is the chance to visit workshops and catch up with old friends. 

We believe that world culture and community culture are two sides of the same peso. Our travels and our website take us all over the world, but our stores and our hearts are back home in Maine. We think globally and commune locally. From our flagship store in Newcastle to our new location in Portland’s Old Port to our heart-of-town locations in Freeport, Raymond, and Bangor, you won’t find Mexicali Blues at the mall. We love where we live, and we’re proud to sponsor local concerts and events for environmental and educational causes.



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