Rick Hollingsworth - Cowboy Bar Gift Shop

Rick Hollingsworth came to Jackson in 1976 and has owned and operated the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar Gift Shop for more than 35 years.

Christie’s attends Luxury Connect

Eight agents from Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates were among about 1,000 who were at the recent Luxury Connect event in Beverly Hills, California.

Among the reps of the Jackson Hole Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate were owner and CEO Julie Faupel, who presented REALM, a real estate marketing platform she launched earlier this year. Faupel led a roundtable on how to spur growth in high-end realty.

The Jackson attendees also exchanged other information about the luxury real estate market, a big part of the Jackson scene and a focus of the Inman Luxury Connect gathering. Inman is a real estate news and information firm.

Another Jackson attendee, Christy Gillespie, said Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates is devoted to being “on top of the latest trends, tools and technology to best serve our clients,” and that the REALM system was part of that work.

A Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates release noted that sales by its agents to date in 2019 are up 6% in spite of a slow spring.

Besides Faupel and Gillespie, the Jackson group included Garth Gillespie, Matt Faupel, Diane Palmer, Mike Jorgenson and Jeff and Kelli Ward.

Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates has eight offices in the Mountain West.

— Staff report

Cowboy shop owner to ride off

After operating the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar Gift Shop for more than 35 years, Rick Hollingsworth is moving on at the end of this week.

By mutual agreement with the company that owns The Cowboy as well as The Wort Hotel, his lease won’t be renewed.

Jim Waldrop, general manager and president of Silver Dollar Inc., which operates the bar and the hotel for the owner, Baxter Properties, said a single manager will be put in charge of the bar’s gift shop and the small retail store in the hotel.

“There’s some economies of scale in our retail operation, and we are going to build off the super strong foundation that Rick laid for us,” Waldrop said. “He was a great tenant and a good friend of the company. It’s a business decision that we made based on opportunities.”

After purchasing the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in 2018, Baxter Properties extended Hollingsworth’s lease for a year.

Hollingsworth praised the company’s principal, Bill Baxter, and Waldrop for freshening up the Cowboy’s interior and the famous cowboy-on-a-bronco sign on the roof.

“Bill Baxter and Jim have done a heck of a job,” he said. “They run a class operation.”

Hollingsworth said he is proud that Jackson presents a friendly face to tourists. He’s enjoyed being part of a team with people like Julie DeShaw, an employee of the gift shop for nearly 20 years, and Cowboy night manager John Davis, and he will miss chatting with the customers.

“They’re just happy they’re on vacation,” he said. “They’re buying something to have a memory of where they’ve been.”

Including the Cowboy gift shop, Hollingsworth has had four retail stores and a wholesale printing company. Though his immediate plan is to focus on some repairs to his home in Game Creek, the business bug might bite again.

“I’ll probably find some way to continue in the business world,” Hollingsworth said.

“I’m looking forward to reinventing myself. I don’t know what it will be. I’ve got some ideas.”

— Jennifer Dorsey

Lockhart joins Biz Hall of Fame

Teton County resident Kelly Lockhart will be inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame on Nov. 13 during the 2019 Governor’s Business Forum.

Lockhart’s induction falls in the Contemporary/Visionary category, which recognizes an individual who is an up-and-coming emerging businessperson or entrepreneur who has a vision for Wyoming’s future.

“With over 40 years of experience in ranching, real estate, and investment management, Kelly Lockhart stands out for his dedication to serve his community and the state on numerous boards,” a press release said.

Lockhart, born and raised on a farm near Pavillion, opened an A.G. Edwards and Sons office in Jackson in 1981. That business is now known as Wind River Capital Management.

He and his family operate Lockhart Cattle Company.

Lockhart serves on the board of the Wyoming Business Council, the Teton County Natural Resource Stakeholder Group, the Teton County Housing Supply Board and the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust.

He’s a former Teton County planning commissioner, Jackson Hole Land Trust treasurer and Teton County Fair Board president.

Lockhart is one of three men selected for the Class of ’19 in the Hall of Fame. One of the others is the late Neil A. “Mick” McMurry, of Casper, who developed the Jonah Field, resulting in “staggering revenues for the state of Wyoming,” the press release said. The third is Howard Woody, of Mountain View, who transformed Union Telephone Company from a small, local business into a “multimillion-dollar telephone service provider,” the press release said. At 97 he is still president of the company.

The Hall of Fame is a project of the Wyoming Business Alliance and Wyoming Heritage Foundation, the Daniels Fund, the University of Wyoming College of Business and the Wyoming Business Council.

Jackson hotelier and former state legislator Clarene Law is also in the Hall of Fame.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Business escapes to new owner

The Exitus Escape Room business will live on in a different form under a new owner, Shepard Humphries and Lynn Sherwood’s Jackson Hole Experience Group.

Brandi Weesen introduced the Escape Room three years ago in the Wort Plaza. It was a place small groups went, for fun, to spend an hour in confined quarters — in one scenario a Yellowstone bunker that was about to self-destruct — and plot their release by following clues.

After having a baby, Weesen decided to sell the business. Humphries and Sherwood own Jackson Hole Shooting Experience, where families, corporate groups and others go to take lessons and try shooting different types of guns at targets. In Exitus the couple saw an opportunity to expand their entertainment options.

“In October 2019, JHXG purchased certain Exitus Escape Room assets, and learned the ropes of fun Puzzle Box operations and rentals. We look forward to honing in on our offerings and relaunching soon with mobile riddle boxes and other fun games of all sorts!”

— Staff report

High country, high costs

The cost of living in Teton County these days is 61% above the average cost of living in Wyoming as a whole.

And, perhaps no surprise to anyone, housing is the reason.

According to the state’s Comparative Cost of Living Index for the second quarter of 2019, for example, the average rental rate for an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment in Teton County was $2,274, three times the statewide average of $756. The next highest counties were Sublette, $839, and Laramie, $831.

The index is based on prices in six categories: transportation; food; recreation and personal care; medical; apparel; and housing. The six categories are weighted to reflect their overall importance in the average person’s budget. Housing was given a 48.4% weight — the biggest.

The combined numbers are against a base state average of 100. Teton County’s overall number for all six categories was 161. But on housing alone, its number was 271, and the next highest was Sublette, at 107.

The stats are put out by the state’s Economic Analysis Division. It surveys prices of 140 consumer items in 28 cities and town to build the index.

— Staff report

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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