I was living in Jackson working for a real estate developing company from New York City. In 2008 the markets crashed and they filed bankruptcy, so I lost my job here. I knew I didn’t want to move back to New York, so I had to find something to do. I had always dabbled in art but realized this was my opportunity to focus on it. About nine months after I lost my job and as summer approached, a space opened up where a coffee shop had closed. I approached the landlord and asked to open up a pop-up shop to sell my art. I did that for three months and afterwards realized that retail in Jackson was something I really liked—specifically, the interaction with people and selling my own stuff. That winter I started to look for a full-time retail space as I mentally collected other artists I’d met or worked with in art fairs over the years.
In the summer of 2010, the little space that was originally MADE opened up. I signed the lease and the store opened seven days later. Seven years later, our store has over 350 artists from all over the country. The products we offer are all made in the USA, which is harder and harder to come by these days and more and more important. Part of what makes us interesting is that we try not to just cater to tourists. We have a lot of nods to Jackson, but we have very little in the store that actually says ‘Jackson Hole’. We want to be the store for locals to buy gifts—I feel like that’s the store I always love when I go on vacation. There’s nothing more exciting for me than being at dinner and seeing a group come in for a birthday and someone sets a MADE bag on the table as a present. It’s the highlight of my day. Of course, we thankfully get a lot of visitors who love the store too, because they want what the locals want.
This story is a part of #humansofjhchamber: As a part of her internship program with the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, Tanya Grover shared her experiences working at the Chamber and interacting with Chamber members. Tanya’s Instagram campaign, #humansofjhchamber, places a focus on the faces of our local businesses and nonprofits. Learn about their inspirations, why they got started in their industry, and more! Find the Chamber on Instagram, @jhchamber. For information about the program, please contact Director of Membership Elisabeth Rohrbach, email@example.com.