Five & Dime opens on Town Square

Which of these items will you find at the new Five & Dime General Store on Town Square?

(a) Five shelves of hot sauce and barbecue sauce.

(b) The board games Operation and Candy Land.

(c) Souvenir T-shirts and mugs.

(d) Wrenches.

(e) All of the above.

The answer is (e).

The store that opened Friday in Legacy Gallery’s former haunt at 75 N. Cache is filled with a staggering variety of goods, from necessities like aspirin and diapers to novelties like a “redneck bottle opener” (featuring bad teeth) and signs with jokey sayings like “Yeah, abs are great, but have you tried donuts?”

Many of the items are things out-of-towners might want while they’re touring the Yellowstone region, including cold beverages and energy bars, and items like sunglasses and sunscreen that they forgot to pack or lost while touring the valley.

The store hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily this winter, with an even earlier opening time planned in the summer, manager Steve Sykes said.

“We figure that with the new hotel coming in, people going to the park early who need a few things won’t have to go far,” he said.

Along with T-shirts and souvenirs the store sells things like warm hats and gloves, packages of socks and underpants, flashlights, tools, stretchy cords and superglue.

Some of the shelves in the back are devoted to fun stuff to keep kids and families entertained, including a selection of board games, jigsaw puzzles, fingerpaints and bags of little plastic soldiers.

There’s a full complement of other items tourists and even locals might need while they’re downtown: cold and headache remedies, for example; Pepto Bismol; feminine protection products; shampoo and toothpaste; and emergency nail and sewing kits.

Sykes said he’s heard of people getting off planes at Jackson Hole Airport and asking their taxi driver to take them to a drugstore for Tylenol or aspirin.

“We make it easy for them to come in and get the essentials,” he said.

The Five & Dime is operated by a company called UTBW (used to be Woolworths) LLC. The first store opened in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the location of that city’s original Woolworths. That was in 1998, about a year after Woolworths announced it was closing all its U.S. stores, UTBW said. Now there are also two Five & Dimes in San Antonio, Texas, and one each in Branson, Missouri; San Diego and Monterey, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and St. Augustine, Florida, according to the company website.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Resort store renovates

Some of the newest features of the Jackson Hole Resort Store are the oldest.

During renovations of the shop at 50 Center St., the crew uncovered ceiling beams and parts of a stone fireplace dating from the building’s original days, which go back to 1896. It began as the Gun Club and later became known the The Clubhouse.

When the old parts were uncovered “we decided to keep it” that way, said Connie Kemmerer, one of the owners of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

She was at the shop Saturday evening during the reopening party.

The resort store opened around 1996 and has stayed the same since then, Kemmerer said. It was due for a face-lift. “The floor was creaking,” she said.

The store is the downtown face of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and is designed to reflect that. Hanging from the ceiling toward the back are models of old-fashioned chairlifts and a photo panorama of the ski area and nearby sights, including the Sleeping Indian.

The resort has another retail project on the calendar. Teton Village Sports will be remodeled next year.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Belle Cose switches it up

The Belle Cose women’s clothing store that once was on King Street is operating in newly remodeled space on Broadway. Specifically 86 E. Broadway, the Crabtree Corner storefront that used to house By Nature Gallery.

Eventually Belle Cose plans to turn that space into a new kind of store that features themed displays and merchandise collections that will change throughout the year.

The 81 S. King St. cabin that’s the clothing shop’s usual home is for now filled with Christmas sale merchandise and called Belle Cose Annex.

— Staff report

Vintage Norwegian sweaters pop up

Jean Anderson’s seasonal shop, Artelana 2.0, has popped up again in Wilson, offering a selection of vintage hand-knit Norwegian sweaters.

Through Jan. 3 you can check out the woolens at Artelana 2.0 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (except Christmas Day) and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream cabin in Fish Creek Center. Even if you’re not in a buying mood, Anderson thinks you’ll enjoy looking at the sweaters.

“Just come in and look,” she said.

Anderson finds the sweaters through a cousin in Norway, friends in Minnesota and the annual Norsk Hostfest in North Dakota. Artelana 2.0 has about 250 of them in men’s and women’s sizes. The newest date to about the mid-1970s.

“This year I have a lot of older sweaters” from the ‘50s and ‘60s, she said.

Her pop-up shop has been a hit the past few years, especially as the early buyers began modeling their purchases.

“Last year it was so much fun because customers were so enthusiastic,’” Anderson said. “They’d seen friends in them the year before.”

A lot of people commented to her that today’s clothes aren’t as well made as the vintage pullovers and cardigans at Artelana 2.0.

“That really surprised me,” she said. “I thought that was great.”

The Norwegian wool sweaters are durable, thanks to the knitting techniques and the keratin in the wool. They hold their shape well and don’t pill.

The pop-up is the descendant of Artelana, Anderson’s Jackson store that longtime residents may remember. It specialized in hand-spun and -knit woolens from South America.

Anderson got the idea for her pop-up after she saw someone wearing a beautiful Norwegian sweaters and learned it was old. That made her think how nice it would be to see people walking around this ski town wearing them “like in the old days.”

— Jennifer Dorsey

Rendezvous wins park contract

A homegrown Jackson water sports business has beaten out an incumbent concessionaire to win a contract to guide multiday kayak trips on Jackson Lake.

Grand Teton National Park announced Thursday that Rendezvous River Sports, owned by Aaron Pruzan, will take the place of OARS West, a California outfit that runs trips around the country.

“We are super, super excited about this,” Pruzan said.

The contract will run from 2020 to 2029.

For two decades, Pruzan said, the lone contract for leading overnight trips on the impounded park lake seemed out of reach, because the concessionaire was offered a “right of preference” by the National Park Service to retain the contract. Incumbent businesses making less than $500,000 a year are first in line to retain permits, but only if they submit proposals that are “responsive” to business prospectuses released by the agency.

When Teton park solicited applications for the next decade’s contract early this year, OARS had lost its preferred status. It appealed its lost status but wasn’t successful, Pruzan said.

“I put a huge amount of effort into that proposal,” Pruzan said, “because it wasn’t necessarily worth the effort if there was still a preferred offerer who could just take it.”

Pruzan said he has no ill will toward OARS and hopes for a smooth transition. He described the business’ late founder, George Wendt, as a globally renowned icon of the river outfitting industry.

The National Park Service’s regional commercial service’s chief, Jennifer Parker, said in a statement that it was a “very competitive” contract.

Rendezvous’ new contract authorizes only multiday trips on Jackson Lake, though lake floats can and will be combined with floats down the Snake River, Pruzan said. Additionally, it comes with the right for exclusive access to three backcountry campsites at Grassy Island, near Spalding Bay and near Colter Bay. Guests will be guided on side hikes during trips, he said.

Pruzan said he’s mulling the possibility of offering Jackson Lake circumnavigation trips, a kind of trip he has been running on Yellowstone Lake since the mid-1990s.

— Mike Koshmrl

Amdor to lead Sporting Club sales

Snake River Sporting Club has a new executive vice president of real estate and hospitality.

Joe Amdor, who replaces Jeff Heilbrun, has been in the Jackson Hole area for 15 years, the last 11 of which with Wells Fargo, according to a press release. Before the bank he worked in Victor, Idaho, at the Headwaters Club at Teton Springs, first as membership director and then as general manager.

Heilbrun was with Snake River Sporting Club for nearly seven years, overseeing operations for four years and real estate sales for the past three years. He will keep his real estate license at Jackson Hole Real Associates, he said.

After 33 years in the industry, he said, it’s time to “take a little break” and enjoy life. “It’s all very positive stuff,” he said.

— Staff report

Iksplor Kickstarts base layers

The children’s clothing company Iksplor launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce a line of merino wool base layers.

Iksplor is looking to raise $20,000, said Kailey Gieck, who founded the business with her sister, Karissa Akin.

The base layers are shirts and bottoms that come in sizes zero to 6P and “six really fun, bright colors,” Gieck said.

In 2018 the sisters participated in Pitch Day, an annual Silicon Couloir event at which entrepreneurs present their businesses to judges and a general audience in the hope of winning prizes and recognition. Iksplor won the first Bob Arndt Community Caretaker Award, presented to a venture whose team and company “best embodies the core values and mission of Silicon Couloir, which is to align entrepreneurship with community vision to promote a diverse economy and healthy environment for current and future generations.”

Iksplor has previously introduced blankets, hats and neck warmers for tots.

Production of the base layers “is where we’ve been aiming to get to this whole time,” Gieck said.

There has been a lot of rigorous testing and prototyping, she said. Though Iksplor hoped to have the base layers ready for Christmas, things took a big longer, she said, and now the company will have them ready to go by January.

They are manufactured by a Minnesota company.

Iksplor opted to turn to Kickstarter because Gieck and Akin have heard from Give’r and other local businesses that have used the crowdfunding platform that it’s good way to promote a product.

“We’re just trying to get the word out, especially in our community,” Gieck said.

The campaign ends Jan. 1.

— Jennifer Dorsey

McKoy, Woodall sell magazines

Publishers of three Jackson Hole publications have sold them after nearly four decades in business, they announced this week.

Wade McKoy and Bob Woodall were publishers of three free magazines that came out once a year: Jackson Hole Skier, Jackson Hole Dining Guide and Grand Teton and Yellowstone Adventure Guide.

The partners sold their Focus Group magazines to Keli Lessing, who will continue them.

McKoy and Woodall photographed and wrote about the Jackson ski and tourism scene from their “quirky ski-bum headquarters” in The Hostel at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. McKoy said he plans to continue in journalism and Woodall will focus on photography, though both will have more time for their work and more time off without their commitment to the magazines.

“Four nearly four decades I’ve lived a skier’s life while shooting and writing about our resort community and putting it all together in The Focus Group magazines,” McKoy said.

Woodall call his time publishing “an amazing run” but said “now is the time to pass the torch.”

Lessing is a businesswoman who has recently spent time working in the national parks in the area. She will publish the magazines and their digital and social media arms and will soon move to Jackson Hole.

She said she is “humbled to become part of an iconic Jackson Hole business that has been serving the community for so long.

Mary Grossman, the founder of alt-weekly Planet Jackson Hole who is now working as Minds Wide Open Inc., a media sales firm, was involved in arranging the sale. Grossman said the sale won’t change the publishing schedule of the magazines.

— Mark Huffman

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor and Business section coordinator. She worked in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to the Tetons.

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