This winter a small company in New Mexico plans to open a general store on Town Square, selling sundries, necessities and souvenirs.
Owners of the Five & Dime General Store aim to have it up and running in early December at the corner of North Cache Street and West Deloney Avenue.
“We’re so excited,” said Deborah Potter, concept creator at the store’s parent company, UTBW LLC. “We’ve always loved Jackson. We are excited about being a part of the community.”
UTBW LLC, which is based in Santa Fe, owns Five & Dimes in eight other cities. The Jackson store will be run by a local manager, Potter said. Other than new signage, no changes to the exterior are planned.
“I try to make each store look as though it’s always been there,” Potter said.
That space at 75 N. Cache has long been the home of Legacy Gallery. Owners Brad and Jinger Richardson will close it Sept. 30, after nearly 30 years in business in Jackson, but will continue with their Arizona businesses.
They are grateful for their long run in the Tetons and sorry to see it end (see box).
“It’s sad,” Jinger Richardson said.
Getting into the Jackson market has been on UTBW’s wish list for a while, and the company specifically wanted a Town Square storefront.
“It’s essential because we are foot-traffic-dependent,” Potter said. “It’s worth waiting for.”
The general store will offer a long list of items, including cold drinks, snacks, hats, gloves, scarves, aspirin, sunscreen, hairspray, diapers, toys, novelty items and locally themed souvenirs, according to a press release.
Some of the items sold at other stores are flip-flops, postcards, cold remedies, candy, juices, desk and laundry supplies, lipsticks, T-shirts, condiments, totes, crayons and sunglasses.
As for adding a soda fountain or other kind of eatery, Potter said, “People have approached us.” But for now, she said, the plan is to make “the whole place where to go to get what you need to have a good time.
“Whatever the customers want we will try our very best to provide,” Potter said. “We hope we can serve the needs of the community as well as the community’s guests.”
The Santa Fe company had a local connection for finding its Jackson space, which is owned by the Lockhart family’s Big Mountain Enterprises.
Terry Winchell, a Realtor with Private Realty Group, said he saw an ad in the News&Guide offering the Legacy space for rent and contacted UTBW.
“We know one of the principals, Chuck Diker, quite well,” he said. “He is an old friend.”
In addition to his real estate work Winchell owns Fighting Bear Antiques. As a gallery owner he can identify with Legacy.
“I hate to see them go, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “They’ve been a force on Town Square for a long time.”
Still, he believes the general store will be a good fit.
“Each one of their stores is different, “ he said. “They’re very good at adapting to the local environment and the economy. They don’t mark stuff way up ... and each one of their stores I know they bring in local things.”
Five & Dime General Stores have their roots in Woolworth’s, a onetime giant in the U.S. retail industry and one of the originators of the five-and-dime concept. UTBW stands for “used to be Woolworth’s.”
In 1997 Woolworth’s announced it was closing all of its U.S. stores, including the busy one in historic downtown Santa Fe, reputed to be the home of the original Frito pie.
Dismayed at the pending loss, Potter talked about it with her husband, a real estate lawyer who’d put several businesses together and developed a hotel.
They hooked up with a veteran Woolworth’s district manager, and the wheels got rolling. In 1998 their first Five & Dime General Store opened in the original Santa Fe Woolworth’s.
A year later a Five & Dime General Store opened on San Antonio’s River Walk, a major tourism attraction with shops and restaurants. In 2003 a second store arrived at Alamo Plaza.
Next came stores in Branson, Missouri, a tourist mecca of country music and themed attractions; San Diego’s Old Town; Cannery Row in Monterey, California; Charleston, South Carolina; historic River Street in Savannah, Georgia; and the historic district of St. Augustine, Florida.
The nutgraph was corrected to reflect that there are Five & Dime stores in eight cities. Brad Richardson's name was also corrected. — Eds.