Jackson Hole, WY
They say that all businesses fail within the first year. And by “they” I mean all the people who want you to go out of business.
At least that’s what it felt like when we opened a little family business in Jackson Hole, WY about 6 years ago. We were told by friends that Jackson could be a fairly cold and unwelcoming to new residents and businesses, but we were determined to make a go of it.
After our doors opened, officially, we struggled to get the support of the town. We tried newspaper, radio, flyers, cross promoting, but the only thing that really worked was a constant visible presence outside the doors of our store. Attention banners were used to draw the eye of the passers by and to give the public a quick sample of what our store was all about.
Every summer, the streets of Jackson Hole play host to about 3 million tourists who either stop to look around for the afternoon or stay in town to play on the River, or in the park (Yellowstone being only an hour away). With all the people in town you’d think it would be easy to lure a small number of them your direction, but Jackson has proven to be so diverting that businesses can be both ingenious and ruthless when it comes to getting the public to “only have eyes for you”. Attention banners were only the beginning. Stuffed animals, photo opportunities, free tickets, and costumes are all part of a stroll around Jackson’s square. It’s a lot like walking around a wild west Disney Land. In the end it wasn’t the people or even a failing business that drove us from Jackson; it was school. I know what you’re thinking, “Of all the foolish things to leave a paradise like Jackson Hole for”. But, when college calls, you answer, at least that’s what my wife told me. I still look back on my time in Jackson Hole as one of the highlights of my life and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been lucky enough to live.